NVHM Training Week 3 – Kind of Another Wash

Oy. These last 3 weeks could be described as “1 step forward, 3 steps backwards”. My first week of training was kind of a wash, thanks to an abscessed tooth and a root canal. Week 2 was FANTASTIC – solid runs, good speedwork, and a great long run. Week 3? Pretty much another wash.

My tendonitis started to flare up again, and true Drama Queen fashion I spazzed. I was convinced that this half marathon was kaput, my spring race  already in jeopardy, etc. Thankfully, Jennifer talked some sense into me, and told me that it was going to be A-OK. She reminded me that one or two days wouldn’t destroy my training, and that most importantly, I know how to handle this injury and how to fix it!  I took an extra rest day this week, so I ran a total of 3 days, for…wait for it….10 miles. Honestly, I’m not upset by that. Disappointed? Eh, sort of. I’m disappointed that I apparently haven’t learned how to take care of myself, but not disappointed that I’m still running, even if it’s only half of the mileage that I originally planned for.  It’s better than nothing!!

I took Tuesday as an extra rest day, and picked back up on Thursday. 2 slow, easy AM miles on the treadmill. I didn’t care about pace…just making sure that I got myself moving without any problems. I also remembered that I’m supposed to be attempting to run on the dreadmill treadmill once a week to get used to it, so this was a good thing 🙂 .

treadmill

Friday – 2 more miles. Outside this time…still no pain! YAY! Another note about this run? I got chased by the flippin’ turkeys again. Jennifer suggested that they may be chasing people because they’re protecting their babies, but I don’t think that is the case. These jagoffs were laying in wait for a total sneak attack on me. I do a lot of my running in a cemetery because it’s super close to my house and it has a lot of good paths to run on and is usually safe minus the turkeys…  Anyway, I try to keep an eye out for them so I can avoid the pack and I didn’t see them anywhere. I shit you not they were hiding behind some headstones waiting for me!! As soon as I ran past, 2 or 3 of them jumped out from behind some graves and started the chase. I screamed SO LOUD, and took off with those jerks in hot pursuit . Again, one of those time I really wished I had my phone so I could have (tried) to get a video of that.

I moved my long run to Saturday, since I will be at my nephew’s birthday party on Sunday! I wasn’t sure how long this run would actually be. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I figured I’d cap it at 6 if I could make that far and had every intention of stopping the second it started to hurt. LUCKILY, it never did so I was able to get all 6 in with no problem.

Even managed a good pace!

Even managed a good pace!

I was also super responsible when I came home and iced, AND stretched before doing anything else.  Post run, my leg was a little tight but totally manageable.

I’m not sure what next week will bring. Of course, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get 4 solid days in but I’ll be happy with any running and am also fine with taking an extra rest day or rest week if necessary. Ok, that’s a little bit of a lie. I won’t be “fine” with a full rest week, but if that’s what I need then…that’s what I need. Look at me being so responsible and stuff.

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Back in the Boot

I had a whole woe is me post written out and ready to post the other day, but something made me stop.  Maybe I didn’t want to sound like a whining 5 year old in a public forum…

Yes, I am back in the boot.

You know you're jealous of the pasty complexion and freckles

You know you’re jealous of the pasty complexion, freckles, and grubby sock

To say I’m frustrated is an understatement and I definitely had a pity party for myself earlier this week but I’m feeling ok now.  

This was completely my fault, and I know that. After two difficult runs back-to-back, I should have been much more diligent about my icing/stretching and…plain and simple, I wasn’t.  And, let’s be honest…that 9% grade wasn’t the best idea either.

Dumbass

Dumbass

My original post basically had me convinced that I wouldn’t be able to run this half, and that my spring race was already in jeopardy. Just a little dramatic, no?

Fast forward a few days, and I’ve been icing and booting (not sure if it’s a word, but if it wasn’t before it is now) and stretching and resting. I skipped my scheduled run on Tuesday and moved my Thursday evening run to this morning for 2 sloooow miles on the treadmill to test things out.

treadmill

 Luckily, the pain/tightness is almost completely gone and there was no discomfort running this morning. The big test will be tomorrow night – I’m going to shoot for 3 easy ones after work.  I’m also going to take my long run easy – no huge hills like last week and no looking at my watch.  THEN, when I get home? ICE, ICE BABY.  If  have to, I’ll take all of next week off and even though I hate skipping runs, I have to remember that I would rather miss out on a week’s worth of running now rather than 3 or 4 months down the road. I’m also incredibly frustrated because I was coming off a strong week and was hoping to keep up with that momentum and had to take a step back. Womp Womp.

This was a wake up call that I need to take seriously and make the time to recover properly. I am hoping that I can get ahead of this before it becomes a full blown case of tendonitis.

Injury Update (Hopefully the last!)

A while ago, I shared that I was having some major issues with what ended up being diagnosed as Achilles Tendonitis.

I was given this bad ass boot to wear at night, a prescription for physical therapy 3 times a week for a month, and a follow up appointment 4 weeks after my initial meeting with a foot doctor.

And now it’s time for me to share that I never went to PT, and never went to my follow up appointment. Oops. In all fairness I really wasn’t able to commit to that kind of time this past summer, had to cancel my follow up and was never able to reschedule it.

Having said all of that though, I’m relieved to say that I am finally pain free! WAHOO!

How did that happen?

I did a few things on my own that helped immensely, and I feel really helped me get back on track

(1) At home “physical therapy”

Basically, I Googled ‘PT for Achillies Tendonitis” and did what I could at home, on my own schedule. Super cheap (FREE!), and very easy. I use two main stretches to help keep things loose:

The Stairs:

I place the ball of my foot on the edge of the step (and hold onto the railings because I can’t balance to save my life) and push my heel towards the floor.

Doesn't look like much, but, man does it feel GOOD!

Doesn’t look like much, but, man does it feel GOOD!

stretch 2

Don’t laugh at my cankles!

Feels so.good.!! To make sure I get the most out of this, I stretch on each step going up and hold it for about 5-10 seconds per foot. By the time I get to the top, there is no lingering tightness (is that a word? If not, it is now)!

   Tennis Ball.

Love this one so much. Gets all of that “tightness” out of my arches and my tootsies feel like new when I’m done. LOVE!!!

You're welcome for keeping my socks on for these pictures, by the way. I can assure you, it's not pretty.

You’re welcome for keeping my socks on for these pictures, by the way. I can assure you, it’s not pretty.

The second, and my most favorite…

(2) Wearing high heels again!

Can I get an AMEN?! When my tendonitis started to act up (back in FEBRUARY!!), the first thing I did was ditch the heels and wear flats EVERY single day. I assumed, incorrectly, that the heels were a contributing factor to my problems. Every single article, blog, etc. that I read said that heels are terrible for runner and to burn them all. At my (only) doctor’s appointment, however, he told me to put those heels back on. I almost hugged him!! Honestly, I can’t remember the exact reason, but I think it’s because it takes some of the pressure off of the tendon. I could also be completely making that up, so don’t hold me to it.

So far, it seems that wedges work best for me and I’m now on the hunt for a pair of fall ankle booties that are sassy and stylish, and *hopefully* have a wedge as the heel! If you’ve seen any, point in the right direction mmmmkay? I still wear the flats, but never on running days. Anything to keep these legs happy!

(3) Taking time off.

When I made the decision to not run the Air Force Marathon, I really let up on my running schedule. Then, a week later, my stepfather passed away and running fell to the bottom of my priority list. For the entire month of August, I ran maybe 14 miles, and I was really happy with that. I was soo tempted to run the Montour Trail Half Marathon (my first ever half 2 years ago!) on the 6th , but I was feeling too good and didn’t want to rush back and risk having a full blown flare up again. I remembered my long term goals, and decided that there was no reason I needed to run that race. There was also no reason to rush back into an intense running schedule. I’ve been doing what I can, when I can and am A-Okay with that. Having said that, though, I am getting really excited to start a real training plan again and am really looking forward to running a race!

Taking that time off ,I think, is what really allowed me to heal.

I am so grateful to be back in “fighting shape”, and can’t wait to tackle training for the Nittany Valley Half in December! Hopefully you’ll still be following along 🙂 !

Injury Update

This is a tad overdue, but…better late than never!

So, last Monday I went to see a Foot and Ankle Specialist to try to get some answers about my legs.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and was worried that I may be put on a running hiatus – a week or two would have been bearable, but any more than that and I was going to have doubts about running a marathon. I’m just getting into the bulk of training, and now is not the time to start missing long runs.  I have a tendency to overreact, in case you haven’t noticed yet.

My doctor – Dr. Jessie – was awesome. He was very thorough, asked a bunch of question, watched how I walk, and looked at my running shoes to determine my stride (which he was said was ‘a good, normal stride’).  My initial diagnosis is a mild case of Achilles Tendonitis – not bad enough to stop running, but I was given an RX for Physical Therapy 3 times a week and a super sexy, sleek Night Splint to wear on alternating feet while I sleep each night.

Don't be jelous

Don’t be jealous! And don’t hate on my pasty, pale legs 🙂

Dr J. also added these little insert/lift things (no idea what they’re called) into my current shoes that seem to help.

Not sure what they are, but they're helping! I think.

Not sure what they are, but they’re helping! I think.

I’ve been wearing my splint religiously, even though it can be uncomfortable as hell, and The Tall One makes fun of me.  I find that it’s pretty hard to sleep with it on – I can fall asleep, but usually wake up a few hours later and need to take it off. I look it as 3 hours is better than 0 hours. I was able to sleep with it on all night Friday (I was exhausted and nothing was waking me up!), but had to take it off last night so I’m thinking that I’ll eventually get used to it. Since I know that I have a hard time keeping it on, I’ve been wearing it in the evening as well while I watch TV, eat dinner, etc. and so far it has really been helping! I used it for 4 days, and then was able to run almost completely pain free last Thursday. WOWZA!! I haven’t been able to schedule the PT yet, so I am really excited to see how much that will help.  I’m going to start gradually increasing my evening runs from 1/week to maybe 2/week for the rest of the month and then go from there.

We didn’t get too much into how I came down with this, but I know that this was a classic overuse/doing too much, too soon injury.  When I was coming off an extended illness back in late January/early February, I tried to jump right back into normal training instead of gradually easing my way into it. This was my own fault, and definitely not a mistake that I’ll be making again anytime soon!