07/23/13

Yoga Workout on Wii Fit Plus

Wii Fit Plus Yoga Pose

Wii Fit Plus Yoga Pose. I appreciate the feedback from the game and the instruction!

I’ve been having problems with my IT band syndrome again since the McCall 40 race a week and a half ago.  I’ve seen my chiropractor for Graston therapy, taken some rest days, started doing the Myrtle Hip Strengthening workout to loosen up those tight hip abductors again and this morning I pulled out a tool I hadn’t used in 422 days (according to my Wii Fit Plus when I plugged it on and climbed on the balance board today!)

I had forgotten how handy this personal trainer disguised as a video game could be! I used to use this a lot more a couple of years ago when I lived in another home with a roomier living room space!  My current living room has about 5 x 6 of floor space so it’s difficult to really stretch out my arms overhead while lying on the floor or when doing poses like Spinal Twist.  It’s even more difficult when accompanied by the two cutest yoga partners in the planet — my 6 and 8 year old daughters, who joined me today!  But, we had a good time, I got to work on my stretching and relaxing and the girls had fun doing “laps” under my Mommy Bridge when I was doing Downward Dog (they stopped for kisses too, which was pretty cute!)

I’ll be using this tool again more now that the boys showed me again how to set the darn thing up again (what can I say – I’m 40 and rarely play video games so I need refresher courses every now and then!) 😀

Here is the Myrtle Hip Strengthening Video guide if you’d like to try this one out as well! I find it easy to follow and it really does help me to loosen up the hip area again when I’m struggling with IT band syndrome!

Myrtle Hip Strengthening Exercises

07/17/13

McCall Trailrunning Classic 40

Louie Lake - one of many breathtaking lakes the McCall Classic 40 mile course offers for your aesthetic pleasure!

Louie Lake – one of many breathtaking lakes along the MTC 40 mile course.

Had an amazing day at the McCall Trailrunning Classic 40 miler over the weekend.  I thoroughly enjoyed running on some of the most technical, difficult trails I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing through some of the most eye-popping scenery Idaho has to offer!

What would a good race report be without a proper mountain leaping photo?

What would a good race report be without a proper mountain leaping photo?

This was one of the first photos I stopped to take during the race. The morning was still and quiet and this gorgeous mist hung over the water. It was heaven-on-earth!

This was one of the first photos I stopped to take during the race. The morning was still and quiet and this gorgeous mist hung over the water. It was heaven-on-earth!

There was a plethora of gorgeous scenery (I took about 130 photos to prove it), a zillion fallen trees to climb over (some so big I had to climb on top as though I were riding a horse just to make my way over) huge mountains to climb, valleys of wildflowers to take in and that perfect silence of all things beyond the trail were all highlights of this course.   There were several ice-cold water crossings to crash through to cool the body off and refresh the soul –  my favorite was through a swift current, up to my thighs with a rope to help assist the runners safely across, which was HEAVEN on my inflamed IT band! I stayed there for several minutes. All in all, the journey was a rugged, beautiful journey through paradise (or hell – depending on how hard you were running and what demons awaited you for the day.)

There were a spectacular display of wildflowers along the course, which made every twist and turn in the trail a wonderful surprise to the eyes!

There were a spectacular display of wildflowers along the course, which made every twist and turn in the trail a wonderful surprise to the eyes!

Trail art - cains showed up here and there along the trail offering some of nature's finest works of art by those who've traveled these paths before.

Trail art – cains showed up here and there along the trail offering some of nature’s finest works of art by those who’ve traveled these paths before.

Purple, yellow, orange and white wildflowers dotted the course and took my breath away with their beauty!

Purple, yellow, orange and white wildflowers dotted the course and took my breath away with their beauty!

Post-card worthy beauty on the top of Boulder Mountain

Post-card worthy beauty on the top of Boulder Mountain

I felt really good for the first 20 miles and was running fairly conservative but strong with similar runners which was enjoyable. I settled in early to two chatty girls and relaxed and let them do the talking, while I enjoyed the faster-paced single track trail of the early miles and the conga line of racers heading along the course through the shady, pine-scented forest.  I took the time to stop and really take in the scenery, to take some photos and to say hello to each and every friend on the course (I’m not kidding when I say I knew the majority of the 40 mile racers and the volunteers, so it was a truly relaxing, social time in the mountains catching up with friends.)  I was holding back, intending to save some turnover for the final miles of the race. I was feeling wonderful, fueling really well and playing it smart. I didn’t fall once though the footing was pretty tricky in many spots and I saw plenty of bloodied knees and heard of a broken finger, so the risk was there if you didn’t play it smart! I had a rough expectation of around 12 hours for the course and was on track for that for a very long time.

Then coming up Boulder Mountain the IT band just locked up (reminded me of Wild Idaho 50 miler a few years back where I limp-ran the final 29 miles.) It was painful and I tried stiff-legging it and running with one normal acting leg and one locked up, but it was difficult to get a reasonable pace going like that with all the boulders and rocks and downhill to deal with. I stopped at a tree and stretched and did some hip-loosening exercises that I’ve used in the past to help. And, they did help – for a few minutes each time, but as the hours passed it became apparent this race would just be a day of getting through and not be a day to push myself hard in pace.  I took an ibuprofen hoping it would reduce the inflammation just enough to let me run again and for a short while I did get the glorious feeling of motion going again, but it didn’t last very long. I even resorted to trying to do Graston therapy on myself (the one thing that always helps me when I struggle with this injury) but let’s just say it didn’t go too well with a smooth rock rubbing up and down my IT band out on the mountain and I gave up my self-doctoring idea pretty quickly!

Luckily, I’d packed several tropical flavored Life Savers and some Caramel Coffee Werther’s candies in my pack and sucking on those and putting on the IPod helped pass some of the tougher stretches when my leg just wasn’t cooperating. I just lost myself in the scenery and made the best of it.

My favorite (knee deep) water crossing! So nice we got to do it TWICE!!

My favorite (knee deep) water crossing! So nice we got to do it TWICE!!

Having struggled with IT band syndrome in the past I knew that I could keep going but that it would be a slog. The IT band had started to act up on me at Silver City 100k three weeks ago, so it did not come as a total surprise.  I’ve spent some time reading a book about an athlete’s mental training the past week and this was a point in the race where I really tapped into those exercises (deep breathing, focusing on a positive outcome no matter what and controlling my emotions) to help me accept what was and to choose “joy” instead of disappointment at the events of the day.

It wasn’t too difficult. I really was having so much fun, I was out in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I’d ever experienced and I had many friends greet me, hug me and high-five me along the way! How could I not be happy? I’ve definitely had my days of disappointment in races in the past and some of those I took to heart. I understand the sting of a dnf and how that can mess with your sense of self-esteem and chip away at your confidence.  But, I’ve had my share of successes, as well.

I’ve ran two 100 mile races and have the belt buckles to prove it! I’ve battled injuries and getting lost in other races and have managed to still find myself at the finish line eventually, crying tears of joy and exhaustion at overcoming the difficulties that I’d encountered to arrive there. I even qualified for Boston two months ago – the dream more precious to me than any other running dream I’ve dared to dream in the past! So, I guess you could say I have finally gained some perspective at this point. Sometimes races don’t go as planned and that’s ok! Because sometimes they are out-of-this-world, over-the-moon WONDERFUL – and it all balances out in the end if you continue to dust yourself off and try, try again in the future, learning from your mistakes and gaining knowledge from what you’ve done right.

The only failures in this world are those who give up and never face their giant again. Because I believe most giants CAN be conquered.  And, isn’t that really the point of these difficult ultra marathons?  To push ourselves beyond our comfort level. To pit man and woman against mountains and weather and long, grueling miles on the body? We, who choose this sport are not here to be coddled or given the “easy road”, we’re here to test our limits, to find out what we’re made of and to ultimately conquer the course – slay the dragon at the finish line!  It doesn’t come easy or with any guarantees of success on the first, second or third try! But, it’s always worth it in the end to keep coming back to the fight until it is won!

I call running trails that are this technical a game of "Think Fast!!" A totally, exciting experience!

I call running trails that are this technical a game of “Think Fast!!” A totally, exciting experience!

I met Jen during the race. She was celebrating turning 40 this week by running the 40 miler! What a fun idea!

I met Jen during the race. She was celebrating turning 40 this week by running the 40 miler! What a fun idea!

The out and back section was my favorite of all since I was able to cheer on the front runners and see each of my friends in the race (and take a few photos with them which was fun!)

The out and back section was my favorite of all since I was able to cheer on the front runners and see each of my friends in the race (and take a few photos with them which was fun!)

I slogged along the next 17 miles or so, excitedly jumping up and down and cheering when I saw the front runners pass me (I was especially thrilled to see Joelle!!) and stopping for hugs and pictures from each friend who came my way as we all made our way through forest and up and over the mountains together. I had a smile on my face, though my right knee was inflamed, sore and tight the further I went.

I finally checked into the Boulder/Louie Lake aid station where my friend (and aid station captain, Emily,) refilled my Nathan with fresh water, offered me watermelon (which I downed hungrily) and a mashed up Popsicle in a cup (which tasted like the sweet nectar of the gods in the heat of the day) and my wonderful mentor and friend, Ande offered me two small peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to take along with me for the final 8 miles of the journey (she assured me they were soft and would hit the spot and she was right!) I headed out. My Garmin showed a bit over 37 miles at this point and Emily told me it was closer to 8 miles until the finish (the actual distance of this course is 45 miles)  I’d been on my own for hours, was feeling tired, though well-fueled and was eager to head towards the finish line, though I knew I still had a few more hours to go before I’d arrive.  I left the aid station about an hour before the cut off there and knew I would make it as long as I stayed steady and kept moving.

I headed down the dirt road, then took a left at the sign that directed me, then walked on, eating my sandwich. About a mile away, I hit an intersection where I didn’t see any pink ribbons (which had been my guide all day.)  My Garmin said I was about 38 miles into the course and I didn’t have the heart to turn back and go ask Emily which way I was supposed to go (which I later would regret.) I stood there puzzling over which way to go.

Straight ahead was the Louie Lake Trail head, a parking lot was on my right and to my left was a road.  I didn’t know which way to go.  A woman standing in the parking lot saw me and asked, “Are you lost?” I told her I was in a race and was looking for pink flagging to direct me which way to head towards the finish line.  She said, “I just came from the Louie Lake trail and I saw pink ribbons way up high there.” So, I decided that must be the correct way and I started heading uphill onto the trail.   My instincts were uneasy, though since there was no flagging, but I kept going thinking, “The woman saw some up ahead. I’ll feel better when I reach that.”

Unfortunately, I climbed on and did not see any flagging. I went for another mile or so and found myself along the dam of the lake, where I realized I’d been earlier that day going the other direction. I started to really doubt my choice to continue. I saw a fisherman and asked him if he’d seen other runners heading this way. He said that he had and so I continued on (unknowingly going further and further off course.)  Finally, after not seeing any flagging for another half a mile I turned back.  It just didn’t feel right and I knew getting lost was the last thing I wanted to do as darkness would be approaching within the next couple hours and I didn’t want to get caught in the mountains without a cell phone or head lamp alone.

Just a few minutes after turning back I started to get worried. I was afraid by the time I got back to Emily’s aid station everyone would have gone home and I was worried I’d be stuck, lost and confused waiting for someone to find me.  I tried to remain calm, but found my fears overtaking me and I started to tear up.  Just then, I looked up and saw 3 men coming towards me! I was so relieved! One of them was my friend, David and I recognized his t-shirt as one of the volunteers from Emily’s aid station! He was with a runner who wasn’t feeling very well and that man’s friend, who had also jumped in to offer encouragement for the final stretch.  They thought they were going the right way.  We chatted about not seeing ribbons and they decided we should head on another path nearby. They told me my friends Sparkle and Jenny had also followed them up this path, so all of a sudden it seemed this might really be the right way after all! All I knew was that I was so relieved to not be all alone out in the mountains in unfamiliar territory again! I had people with me and I felt instantly happier and safer!

After another half an hour of not seeing any ribbons (or seeing Jenny and Sparkle) we all agreed we were lost.  I noticed one of them had a cell phone and I asked if he had any coverage on it. He said he did and I asked if I could call my husband.  I dialed his number and it rang but went to voice mail. I left a message and we continued to try and figure our way out of where we were. I’d gotten really turned around when the boys took me on the second path so I no longer knew the way back to Emily’s aid station, even and when I tried to get my Garmin to “go back to start” – it just froze and would not function properly, so it wasn’t much help.

After another half an hour of making no progress on finding the course, I asked to use the cell phone again, hoping to get Wayne to answer.  Again, it went to voice mail. I dialed my own cell phone, then, knowing my 13 year old daughter had that one and I was hoping she could tell him and the race director that we were lost. But, that cell went straight to voice mail, too.  Finally, the man mentioned that he had the race director’s number!!! He dialed it and Jeremy picked up (YAY!!!)  They spoke for about twenty minutes with a bad connection, while the man tried to give our gps coordinates to him that he was finding by using an app on his phone at the same time.  Jeremy tried to figure out where we were and how to guide us back to the proper path with that information.  That was the most wonderful feeling when we realized that others knew we were lost, approximately where we were and we had some guidance again! We walked for another half an hour or so (the other runner was having stomach problems, was dehydrated (I shared my water with him) and he was having plenty of pain in his shins, so we slowly progressed towards the final aid station and were never so grateful to see the two ATV guys there manning it waiting for us!! I could have hugged them both!

I sat down on a log, looked at my Garmin and saw I’d made it 42.3 miles. It was 8:10 and the race cut off was 8:30 pm – and we still had over 5  miles to go to the finish line. It was an obvious decision to ask for a ride back at that point.  There was just no way with the IT band seized up that I could have made it to the finish before the cut off (I mean 5 miles in 20 minutes would mean I’d probably be setting some kind of world record anyways!) and I knew it and accepted that.  I was honestly just so grateful and thankful to know I was safe again and would see my husband and children soon.

How could I not smile when I was rescued in a Pinzgauer?!

How could I not smile when I was rescued in a Pinzgauer?!

The cool part was when the golf course owner (the venue for this race), showed up in some sweet looking Swiss Army jeep thing that reminded me of a narrow Hum Vee and gave us a ride back on the ATV trails in that thing (what a wild time!!!) Going up and down the crazy course in that thing, ducking to not get knocked over by the pine trees’ branches smacking in the open windows! Driving through the water crossings! It was AWESOME! They even gave me a Coke and some trail mix which was much appreciated since I’d been running for over 14 hours, then had to wait for the ride for another 30 min or so and I was a bit hungry. 🙂 There was plenty of laughter on that ride back to the start/finish line and my heart was happy. The day had not turned out like I’d expected it, but it had been an adventure nonetheless!

I was overjoyed when we pulled into the golf course parking lot! My husband was really happy to see me and he held me tight! I was smiling and genuinely thankful to Jeremy, the race director, for answering his phone, guiding us back and sending help to us out there! I was very grateful to the man who’d driven out there and given us a ride back and I was exceptionally happy to be allowed to just rest again. I couldn’t wait to get back to the camp site and hug my sweet kids!!! They were very happy to see me! My 6 year old had even colored this really great poster that said, “GO MOM! I <3 Mom!” for the finish line with pretty pink (my favorite color) flowers and hearts on it. I felt bad I’d gotten off course and she’d not been able to cheer me in with that — but it meant the whole world that she’d made it and I hugged and kissed her and told her how much I loved it!

I’m happy. I’m fine. I need to deal with the injured leg. I’m hoping to see my chiropractor later this week for Graston therapy and hopefully I’ll be running again by next week.

P.S. The things that went supremely WELL in this race:

1. My attitude. I have been reading about mental preparation for athletes lately and have really focused on staying positive no matter what. That paid off for this day and I looked the race director in the eye after it was over and told him wholeheartedly that I took full responsibility for myself and getting lost and had a GREAT TIME on his course and thanked him for doing an excellent job! That felt good to accept my fate with no regrets.

2. Zero blisters or feet problems again! Love Pure Grits!!! Even with my feet plunging right into about 20 or more water crossings I was just fine and dandy! And the feet felt fine at the finish, still.

3. Zero chafing. Yay for Body Glide and knowing how to apply it liberally!

4. Fueling!! THIS was my biggest success!!!! I decided from the start to try to stick to a mostly liquid, simple-to-digest diet for this race and see how it went. I brought along 2 Vi Fuel packs flavored like peach cobbler and they were awesome! Then I turned to what the race offered – Hammer gels and probably took about 8 of them during the race. I have never taken more than 3 GUs or anything like that for any distance before and didn’t know if it would cause stomach distress. I was FINE!! I also had 2 Mrs May’s natural granola bars (about 220 cals each), a few bites of watermelon, a bite of a banana and at the last aid station two small squares of peanut butter and jelly (which was wonderful since I got lost for hours shortly after.) I never bonked. I felt awesome! I took s caps and endurolytes throughout. Seriously would have ran so great on that fueling if the IT band wasn’t an issue. That was a great feeling!

Tempus Photo Design got this shot of me during the race and I really love it! It captures the joy I was experiencing in the beauty of those gorgeous mountains!

Tempus Photo Design got this shot of me during the race and I really love it! It captures the joy I was experiencing in the beauty of those gorgeous mountains!

Elevation gain: 9,626 feet or so. LOTS of climbing – especially when you add on a few extra mountains just for the heck of it!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/343224615

The McCall Trailrunning Classic is a must-do ultra marathon in the Salmon River Mountains! With plenty of single-track trail and some of the most technical and challenging running I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing in a relative paradise of wildflowers, lakes and shady Ponderosa Pines, it will take your breath away! Of all the other race courses I have ran in the past, this most reminded me of Big Horn in scenery and difficulty.

The race directors, Jeremy and Brandi Humphrey (ultra runners themselves) put on a well-organized event and pour their heart and soul into it.  Well stocked aid stations, world-class race volunteers ready to meet your every need at the many aid stations along the course and a delicious baked potato bar at the finish make this a race not to be missed!

03/13/13

9 Days Until The Buffalo Run

woo hoo

Good news! The injured soleus muscle seems to be fairly healed up – and just in the nick of time! The Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 miler is only 9 days away! I was really sweating weather or not the calf strain would heal up in time to even attempt it. I took two weeks off when the injury hit, then eased very gently back into using it — doing 31 miles of mostly slow walking in week three, a little cross training – some yoga, a spin class, lots of stretching and a few visits to my chiropractor for ART and Graston therapies and then slowly beginning to run again last week.  I also went to see my sports massage gal who does an amazing job of working thoroughly into the muscles, breaking up the scar tissue and loosening up my tight-as-can-be runner muscles to get me into a good position to heal in time for the race!

It seems to have worked! I have now been running some of my regular routes at paces that aren’t horribly different from before the injury. I’m taking more walk breaks and wearing compression calf sleeves and remembering to stretch after the runs — but I’m getting there!

This morning I ran with a group of friends, including my pal, Derek who will be my pacer at Antelope Island! It was exciting to be thinking ahead to race strategy and nutrition needs instead of holding my breath wondering if I would even be able to make the trip! I’m pretty pumped! The best part is that this year there are about 20 local pals from the Boise area heading down to Utah for the race! It’s going to be a party!!!!

My change in mindset from fearful injured runner to eager racer took a little bit of soul reflection and a big leap of faith, honestly.  Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the worry of “what ifs” when you’re facing the idea of testing the injury in a race. It’s a risk to move forward and trust that you’re healed enough to begin running again – it’s a whole other kind of leap of faith to go from barely running for 4 weeks to racing a 100 miler! I’ve decided to take the leap!

Here are some words of wisdom I ran across as I was making my decision that bolstered my resolve and gave me the courage I needed to move forward with my plans!

what could go right

It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen. – Herodotus

The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That’s the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead! – General George S. Patton

 

 

03/2/13

6 Mile Test Run

I am learning

I am learning

I’d been planning for weeks to join in with a bunch of my trail friends for a nice, long (22 mile) trail run. This morning that run happened without me since I’m still slowly rebuilding after this calf injury (and the subsequent IT band problems I’ve had.) I felt kind of proud of myself for showing some restraint about that since I often suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out!!)

Fear of Missing Out is a real, medical condition! Who knew! ;)

Fear of Missing Out is a real, medical condition! Who knew! 😉

The sun was shining, the sky was baby blue, I saw the first sign of springtime buds on the trees and the birdies were tweeting – you know ACTUAL tweeting, not that silly “typing a message that all your “followers” will see” goofball human kind!

tweeting birds

Since this week’s recovery workouts went pretty well with adding short walks (2-3 miles) again, the short test run a couple days ago caused no issues and then having the spin class not cause a setback yesterday it was time to add another step forward – so today my plan was to run my usual neighborhood 6 mile out and back. And, that’s just what I did! I was very tempted to do the 6 on trails, since I miss them so much, but I know that the uneven footing, rocks and such may still be too much for my calf, so I decided to save it for the next step in my slow build up back to normal land, so I ran on the asphalt this time.

I walked the first half mile to warm up the calf and IT band, then started lightly jogging. I ran until the first mile was up, then walked a bit again (making sure not to overwhelm the recovering leg.) It seemed to be a good balance. I ended up walking about 2/10 after each mile beep so probably ran 75% of today’s “run” which is definitely progress!

I felt absolutely ZERO problems with the calf that had the strain, which was awesome! My IT band, on the same side, which has been showing more irritation since I hurt the calf 3 weeks ago did start speaking to me at about mile 4.5. I just slowed it down, walked a bit more and tried to stretch it out, but was fine to complete the workout.

I will see my massage therapist this week for a deep tissue massage and have her work over my IT band and calf to keep me on the road to recovery. I’ll definitely see my chiropractor next week for more Graston on the IT band if that doesn’t resolve it, too. He’s been able to keep my IT band happy for about a year and a half so I think this is something we can manage just fine since it’s just “tweaking” and not entirely locked up like it was a couple years ago in what I now like to refer to as “the world’s longest 50 mile run” at Wild Idaho that took me roughly 22:47 (that’s hours and minutes people and to put in perspective just how slow I was once I was hurt.. I had done the first 23 miles in about 5 hours and 20 minutes.. so that was a llloooonnng second half of limping once the IT band seized up and I was too stubborn to stop!!) That injury took months to fully resolve!

When I got back, I took about 30 minutes in my front yard, stretching, doing clamshells, Myrtle hip exercises, calf and hamstring stretches, butt firming work (my issues with the hip area/IT band stuff are partly because of weak glutes, so I am going to keep trying to add in stuff like this after each run!), then did 50 crunches and 50 girly push ups on the grass, while the birdies tweeted overhead. It was a lovely day!

Ave HR: 153. Max HR: 180. Elevation Gain: 119 feet. Felt: One step closer to normal, but still a long ways from confidently saying I can do that 100 in three weeks without causing injury issues to reflare up and set me back (now my focus is on the IT band more than the calf.)

3 weeks is still a long ways away in runner world, though, so it’s too far out to say for sure what I’ll decide about the race just yet. I can bump down in distance (to either 25k, 50k or 50 miles) until the Wed. before the race. I am also signed up for a 24 hour, flat-as-a-pancake loop course race the week after, so I am also having to decide how I want to handle that. It may be smarter to go easy at the first race (doing the 25k or 50k for instance) and then push more at the second race (where I get a point in a local trail series for every single mile I complete in this particular race which is much more generous than the other races in the series so it might be nice to take advantage of that.)

If I was feeling pretty confident and strong another fun idea would be to do the 50 miler option at Antelope Island Buffalo Run instead and try to do it under 11 hours (this one is a qualifier for Western States and I ran that first loop in about 12 hours last year during my 100 and felt like I was holding back, so if I felt strong, that might be the way to go.)

I have time to figure it all out…… All in all, things are going well, I am happy with the progress I am making and looking forward to an exciting racing (and directing) year ahead! The next race our little company, Final Kick is putting on is only two weeks away! The Shamrock Shuffle at Ste Chapelle winery in Caldwell, Idaho should be a really fun time and I’m looking forward to cheering on our runners and walkers as they celebrate St Patty’s day with 5k and 10k races through wine country, the sounds of a live bagpiper and green local brewery beer at the finish!!

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

02/19/13

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! 🙂

03/13/12

Trail Running With My 11 Year Old Son

This Saturday, my husband and I are directing an inaugural St Patrick’s Day 5k/10k race at a local winery called Ste Chapelle. www.runstechapelle.com We’re on track to have about 200 runners, which is very exciting! On my last run with Ryan, he mentioned that he was going to run the race with his son and wanted to know if my boy would like to join them! It was a great plan, since Jr loves to race and this would give him grownup supervision while we were occupied with race directing duties! Yay!!!

So, today, I decided it would be a good idea to take Jr on a three mile run on the Oregon Trails near our home. It was windy and overcast and really peaceful out. We stopped and read all of the Oregon Trail information plaques along the way, talked about volcanic rock, sagebrush, animal scat (unfortunately we only spotted DOG POO today, but since deer frequent our neighborhood all the time, I’m sure we’ll run into more interesting poo in the future!) and took our time at the overlooks to enjoy the view. I pointed out Table Rock (which Jr has ran up to before!), the taller buildings of Boise, which looked quite tiny from our vantage point, Lucky Peak, the Boise River and the cars weaving along the road way below us. Jr took an extra interest in locating school buses moving like yellow dots along the road furthest from us. It was a lot of fun!

When we reached the steep downhill section, that I was intending to avoid since my IT band is really acting up, he begged to run down it. I let him while I walked it. He started whooping and leaping and saying, “Woo hooo!” and I just grinned and thought, “Man, this kid is SO MUCH like ME!” 😀 He (also like his mother) huffed and puffed when he reached the bottom and had to climb back UP that sweet downhill! That’s my BOY!

I think he’s all warmed up for his race now! And, I think I need to take a few more days of rest and recovery on this cranky IT band. 🙁

Elevation Gain: 146 feet. Ave HR: 106. Felt: Super Happy to share the trails with my SON!!! He put his arm around my waist and I put mine across his shoulders and we strolled side-by-side at the end. What could be better?!

10/6/11

Streak Day 20 – Warming up the Legs for the Weekend

The legs are feeling less-than-enthusiastic. The IT band is still panicking when I try to even jog slowly. I walk a lot still. I’ll get there again. Months from now, I’ll hopefully be gliding along, looking down at my pace on my Garmin and thinking, “Wow, that feels so effortless! It’s like I’m floating.” That is the hope. In the meantime, I just keep moving forward.