Category: injuries (page 1 of 2)

Bend, Don’t Break

I almost maybe sort of broke my foot in December. Though I was never formally diagnosed, I’m pretty sure I had a stress fracture. Cue lots of thinking about not stressing. And not breaking.

Bend.

Don’t break.

Be flexible.

Let go.

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notquittingSo when Manchild was struggling with his piano piece, dragging his feet about practicing, threatening to quit . . . we said: Better to quit the piece than quit piano. 

(And for the past few weeks, the new piece has been music to all of our ears.)

When it takes me 3 months to put together a podcast episode that I’m sure I could do in a month if, you know, all went well . . . well, it takes the time it takes.

Bend, don’t break.

And when I get halfway through a recipe and realize a key ingredient is past its prime. Pivot. Don’t even blink. Just turn. Dinner surprise!

Hopefully a good surprise.

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hardthings

There’s always a crack. Always an imperfection. Always something not quite right. Stressing seems like a good way to break it in pieces. Keeping it together . . . that’s where the challenge is. That’s where the adventure is. That’s where the fun is.

That’s where I want to be.

 

The Best Kind of Distractions

Distractions are sometimes nice and sometimes necessary. It’s really nice when those distractions keep you so busy that you don’t have time to worry about the things that are bothering you. It’s even better if those distractions and that busyness comes from spending time with some of your favorite people. And walking around the city. In the rain. All day.

A few months ago I was out for a run when the thought occurred to me: why on earth haven’t Allison and Heather come to the city for a visit?! That very evening I got an e-mail from Heather asking the same thing. Within a few days it was settled: they would come for a couple of days in May. We would visit museums and eat tasty food and maybe even catch a show. With our kids in the care of our husbands, we would be together and footloose and fancy free in the way we had only been when finals week was over.

girlsonthebridge

And we were. And with the cold and the rain, which kept us walking quickly all over the city, we covered a decent amount of ground in the 40ish hours we had at our disposal: the Brooklyn Museum, Grimaldi’s, Brooklyn Bridge, the Met, Shake Shack, Central Park, the Manhattan Temple, the Highline, Union Square, Cinderella on Broadway, and a glimpse of Times Square.

The walking and talking and being with friends and away from my “desk” was a much needed break from the worry of not running and the wear of lots and lots of writing.

And although I have been giving my IT band time to heal, all that walking also helped release some of the nervous energy I usually feel after a few days off from running, without the risk or pain of re-injury. I haven’t had any pain since last week, but I think the extra time off will give it time to really heal. Later this week I plan to go for a test run – nothing too fast or far – just to see if the healing is actually happening.

Updates on that next week, but until then, may I recommend (again) giving the IronStrength workout a go? The more times I do it, the more I love it. I’m feeling stronger and more balanced for sure, even if I do look alittle wobbly by the time I get to the last set of burpees.

I’m a Broken Record

I had hoped that by a month after Boston I’d be good as new. Well, I hoped that by a week after Boston I’d be good as new, but I realized that wasn’t going to happen by Mile 3 of 26.2. And then I hoped that if I just took it slow, rolled my IT band a lot, and only went a few miles at a time, I’d be fine. And then thought I was fine, so I’d speed things up, or wear high heels, or do some other silly thing and, whoops! re-injure my IT band. Again.

The good news is that it seems to be a 2 steps forward 1 step back kind of thing. Or maybe 1 1/2 steps forward, 1/2 step back? I’m not quite sure of the ratio. What I do know is that is that I’m able to run just a little farther before I start feeling my knee again, and it feels “normal” just a little more quickly each time.brooklyn half

After last Tuesdays’ 5-miler, I felt good enough to attempt a 7-miler on Saturday. Or maybe I was just so inspired by the half-marathon taking place on my running route that I couldn’t help myself? Anyway all went well . . . until the next day when I randomly had pain shooting up my leg. It was as bad as it ever was and I nearly swore off running at all for an entire week (!!!) . . . but then I took a nap, got a really great night’s sleep and felt next-to-new by Monday morning. (Seriously, at some point Little Miss woke up and cried and I didn’t hear a thing. Micah brought her into bed and I had no idea she was there until she started crawling on my head in the morning. It was fabulous.)

And once again, I am seriously tempted to declare myself cured since I’ve been pain free for over 24-hours. But I’m beginning to see the pattern here. And I think it’s time I really give my knee a rest. For more than a couple of days.

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Sigh.

Thankfully that does not preclude me and Micah getting up at 6:00 to get our trash kicked by burpees and mountain climbers. The good news is that our iron strength workout is not as hard as it was the first time. I can almost do 3 sets of burpees before my jump looks more like a shrug – but that doesn’t mean that I like it. Still, it’s better than nothing. And I’m hopeful that it’ll keep me from entirely falling apart before our half-marathon in less than 3 weeks. Maybe it’ll even help that knee of mine heal for real.

Changing Pace

My water bottle has been a little bit of a lifesaver this week. Not for it’s helpfulness in keeping me hydrated, of course, but for it’s cylindrical shape and it’s hardness. Stainless steal is the way to go, I believe, when the foam roller just isn’t cutting it any more. Who needs a rolling pin when they have a Klean Kanteen?

So, no, my IT band has not entirely healed. But it feels pretty good most of the time. I took most of the week off, once again, but went out for a 5-miler on Friday just because my brother was in town and could watch the kids while I went out in the middle of the day. I had to take advantage of the free babysitting somehow. And then on Saturday I went out again. Actually, we went out. The whole fam. It was our inaugural family run of the season and while it was a little slow than usual while we figured out how Manchild was going to handle riding along on his bike, we did it and that’s what matters.

We celebrated our accomplishment by playing Ultimate with some friends in the park. I have very little experience with team sports, and I’m never very comfortable out on the field. It always takes me a while to 1. work up the courage to get out there and 2. realize that nobody cares how often I drop passes as long as I’m making an effort. And once I do that, I generally have a good time. By the time we had to quit, I was feeling pretty good about life. I’m not quite ready to say it was anything like intervals or speedwork of any kind, but it was fun and it was different – a needed break from thinking about pace and mileage.

This week, I haven’t been worried about running much in general. I’ve been having fun, enjoying the weather, and letting someone else set the pace for a while. family run

We’re Trying Not To Be the Worst

“There’s nothing worse than a weak-butted runner.”

Nothing. A weak-butted runner is the worst. Or so I’m told by the man who hosts the workout video Micah and I dragged ourselves out of bed for at 6:00am on a Monday morning to participate in. And after 20 or so minutes of jumpsquats, plyometric lunges, rotating planks, and push-ups I thought, “No. He’s wrong. There are worse things than a weak-butted runner. Like trying not to be a weak-butted runner.”

Still, we persevered through pain and the humiliation of not being able to do even one proper sit-up or burpee and were rewarded for our efforts by not being able to move without pain all day today.

And actually, the worst part is that I’m kind of excited to stop being sore . . . so that we can do it again.

Because remember how Micah has been nursing injuries for nearly 2 years? And how we’re running a half-marathon in just over a month? Well, we’re hoping that adding a little strength-training to the mix will help him to even his body out so he can run without getting hurt. I’m hoping for the same thing. I feel pretty blessed/lucky to have only had a little bit of IT band syndrome going on, but if I can do something to help me to not have IT band syndrome going on, then I think I want to do it.

If it gives me a strong butt on top of that, I am all in.

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I’m hoping to resume a more normal running schedule in the next week or two, but this past week I’ve still been trying to “rest” and let my IT band heal so that I can bend my knee without pain. But resting is not something that comes easily when I have a lot of walking to do to get Squish to and from school, or to play with friends, or to go anywhere and do anything. Resting is also not something that comes easily when my friend who is training for the Brooklyn Half invites me to come along with her on a run. I rationalized that it would be slow (she just finished up cancer treatments and is blowing my mind with her determination to run at all, let alone a half marathon) and that it wouldn’t be too far . . . but 7 miles later I realized that I’d miscalculated. (I also rationalized going for a “run” with Manchild, but seeing as how he’s still working up the stamina to make it around the block without walking, I think I’m okay there.)

Still, my knee continues to feel better. I haven’t felt it at all today, but I’m not sure if that is because it is healing or because the soreness of the rest of my body detracts from the pain in my knee.

This Week in Marathon Training

Ah. Last week before the taper. I knew it had to be a good one. The trick was my knee, which, as you may recall, has been a little stiff. I think it’s my IT band, and I think this happens every time I train for a big race. I’m not super worried about it, but it does mean that I need to be extra careful with my miles. So careful is what I tried to be, with varying degrees of success.

I must have slept well or something on Sunday night because I felt great on my Monday 6-miler. Not so much Tuesday. In fact, I cut the run short at 3 miles because my knee was giving me grief. Not worth the risk! I told myself. It’s better to be able to run the race at all than to train my legs off . . . and then not have any legs to run on. I felt smart about that, and I told myself I was being smart by skipping my Wednesday speed workout, too. I probably was, but then I felt bad about being smart so I went out on Thursday and accidentally got into a race that ended up turning my easy run into a nice tempo run. This girl and I were going at a decent clip, she was a step or two ahead of me. When we got to the top of the hill she maybe sort of let me pass . . . ? but I had to go home, so I went a different way and I’ll never know who would have won. Darnit! The nice thing is that my knee felt fine. The other nice thing is that I got in a good speed workout in which boosts my confidence going into the race.

good weather

Finally, my long Saturday run. I wanted to get at least 20 miles in and I wanted itnot to kill me. I wanted good vibes going into the race. And I’m pretty sure I nailed it. I ran 21.25, and upped the pace for the last few miles just to prove to myself that I could turn up the heat at the end. I don’t know if I will actually be able to do such a thing on race day, but maybe it’s an option. Besides Saturday being a beautiful non-snowy day, I think I benefited from actually fueling myself during my run. I downed 3 GUs (one at mile 6.5, another at mile 13, the last at mile 18) and sipped water the whole time. Smart move, Lizzie. Turns out, it’s a lot easier to run if your tank isn’t empty.

So the run went well. But my knee did not love it. It was very stiff and painful the rest of the day. I could hardly bend it on Sunday (not so good when navigating staircase after staircase . . .). I seriously thought that my next run might be when I toe the line in Boston, and even then it would only be with some pain killer in my back pocket. But just before I went to bed on Sunday, my knee made a miraculous leap in its range of motion. And then it made another one yesterday. So I’m hopeful I’ll get at least a few miles in before race day, but I’m mostly just grateful to have gotten that last long run in. I needed it.

Getting Over Betrayals and Mental Hurdles

Katy asks a good question: I’ve been off running for entirely too long, with some back issues. I’m finding myself too scared to start again, because I fear I’ll re-injure myself. Any tips on getting over an injury mental hurdle?

I think this isapplicable to so many situations in our lives. There are things that we like to do, love even, but something happens and we develop a fear for this thing we love. Because it can hurt us. It can lead to discouragement and pain. We feel somewhat incomplete without it, but we have a hard time committing to it anyway.

I’ve felt this way about writing.

I’ve felt this way about having kids.

I’ve felt this way about having friends.

In fact, I think we all have to face the prospect of giving up some of the things we love most in our lives because we are afraid of the pain – physical, mental, emotional – that comes when something you love hurts you. It’s a big thing. It can be really traumatic. It may have been a huge part of your life and your identity, and then it came and bit you in the back. Ouch.

So, Running is your friend, but she’s hurt you, and now, perhaps, you feel slightly betrayed by her. You think she is worth forgiving and being friends with again, but you don’t know where this betrayal came from or if she’ll do it again. Maybe it was a fluke? An accident? A misunderstanding?

Already you’ve taken a break from her and realized that you miss her and you would like to hangout again, just like old times. But will it be like old times? Will it be awkward? Will she come back and bite you again?

The good news is that you don’t have to commit to spending 26.2 miles together to find out. You can start by just taking a quick turn around the block, and see how that goes. Do you sense any awkwardness? Any twinges? Any hints that maybe you didn’t spend enough time apart? Then you can slow things down, walk a little, maybe give yourself some more time to heal.

But maybe it feels good to be back together. Really good. So good you want to just jump right in where you left off. To which I would say, slow down. A turn or two around the block is a good start. If things go well, it’ll leave you wanting more and eager to go out again soon. Running seems to still be your friend, but you don’t want to overdo it. Maybe go out for a couple of short runs until you feel comfortable together, both mentally and physically, and then when the awkwardness and pain is gone, you’ll know you have your friendship back.

The other approach I might try is to branch out. Running may be your best friend, the one you spent most of your time with, and that’s why it hurt so much when she betrayed you. So, if you haven’t already, it might be time to make some new friends. That way, if running does betray you again, you aren’t left completely alone. You can hangout at the swimming pool or the yoga studio or on the bike so that you aren’t quite as vulnerable to the loss of your friend. You’ll still miss running, I’m sure, but because you are well-rounded and have other interests, you won’t have as much mental energy to dwell on the pain she caused. And if she does come and bite you in the back again, you might be stronger than you were before so that you are able to rebound more quickly.

Does anybody else have any ideas for Katy? Any experience overcoming the mental part of an injury that we can learn from?

Scissors, Shows, Sprinting, Sendak

Squish and I had a little chat today. About the proper use of scissors. Using them to cut scabs off your face was eliminated as a “proper use,” but I kind of think that Squish wasn’t entirely persuaded by my arguments.

(This particular scab is of unknown origin but is entirely unrelated to the lip incident. The lip is healing just fine and looks to be on track to be nearly invisible by next week.)

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Good news for those of you who only manage to squeeze in a couple of one-minute sprinting sessions a week — when chasing after a runaway child: it still helps you stay healthy.

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Squish is presenting me with a little bit of a quandary. He suddenly won’t nap unless I lie down with him. I’m torn between wanting him to keep being the awesome, independent napper he’s always been and wanting to make sure he still gets a nap in — because I need that nap as much as he does. Of course, it only takes a few minutes for him to fall asleep when I lie down with him and he doesn’t wake up when I leave, so I should probably count it 5 minutes well spent and move on.

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I found out this week that my grandmother’s name, Bernice, is related to the name Nike, the Greek goddess of victory (which is, of course, where the athletic apparel company got its name). Bernice means “bringing victory” — it is the English version of the ancient Greek “Pherenike.” I had no idea. Suddenly I have a whole new perspective on the name.

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Yesterday I read Pierre by Maurice Sendak to the boys. On the last page, I accidentally misread a word, but it made sense so I kept reading. Manchild, who wasn’t even sitting next to me, corrected me with the right word. It got me wondering if he could learn the whole book. After all, it is just one long poem. So I asked him. His response: “With the prologue, or without it?”

“With,” I said.

And he proceeded to recite the entire thing, nearly word-for-word, from beginning to end.

Of course he’d already memorized it. I mean, he’s read it at least five times since we got it for Squish’s birthday 4 months ago.

This sort of thing should no longer surprise me, but it does.

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As far as children’s television programming goes (which we watch either through YouTube or on DVDs from the library): I fully support Charlie and Lola. I can get behind Thomas and His Friends. VeggieTales are on my “okay” list as well. I tolerate Dinosaur Train. But The Cat and the Hat grates on me a bit. I refuse to bring Barney into my home. I am grateful my children do not know that Maisy has her own tv show (the books are almost more than I can handle). I prefer Sesame Street in small, YouTube doses (especially the Elmo portions). Super Y and Word Word get a stamp of approval, however.

What about you? Where do you stand? Or what can you not stand?

Mostly About Squish and His Squishiness

“I think that I will start to taste food I don’t like.” This, from Manchild, after eating a whole bowl of barley risotto with beans and kale without one word of complaint. Sweeter words were never spoken.

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Running in the snow is better than running in the rain. As one friend said, “It feels like soft little kisses on your face.” Amen.

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I decided earlier this week that it was okay to take my child to the doctor even if he wasn’t sick. Squish has some big tonsils that seem to be making it hard for him to breathe when he sleeps, and it was worth it to find out that the only thing we can for him at this point is stick a humidifier in his room.

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Squish made a second trip to the doctor’s this week when he attempted to see if he could outrun the laws of physics and collided with a door. It wasn’t until I dragged him to the bathroom and noticed the blood spurting out from some unknown place in his mouth that I realized I was out of my depth. Thankfully, a dozen other mothers came to my rescue with frozen water bottles, wipes to clean the blood up, phones to call the doctor, and thoughts about what I could do until we got there. And popsicles for the injured boy and his self-described jealous older brother.

(We were very lucky that his teeth didn’t go all the way through his lip — it was close.)

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Micah and I bonded over The Baron’s Long and Lean Yoga workout this week. And by bonded, I mean that neither of us could move without triggering some soreness somewhere the next day.

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I’m sure at some point, Squish will realize that the novelty of him being able to climb into his crib has worn off, but he hasn’t caught on yet. It’s still a family affair in which everyone is invited to the commencement of naptime to watch him scale the crib and cheer his success. This, despite the fact that one side of the bed is completely open and he could just sit down on his bed if he wished. Love that boy.

Tuesday Training Tip: Be Wary of Overtraining

Early last month I realized that I’d been in marathon training for over 6 months. Six months! Half a year! That seemed like such a long time. And it made me tired just to think about it. Especially knowing I still had 2 1/2 months until my marathon. It was harder and harder to get up in the morning. I was less and less excited for race day. I kept thinking, “What’s the point of training? Anything can happen on race day.”

Clearly, I was suffering from overtraining. (Or under-recovering, depending on your point of view.)

Some signs of overtraining include:

  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss
  • loss of enthusiasm for training
  • anxiety and irritability
  • elevated morning pulse
  • increased injuries
  • chronic muscle soreness
  • increased minor infections
  • decreased performance

Yep. I was tired. I dreaded my long runs and speedwork. I felt sluggish and pessimistic about the race. So I took a step back and switched things up a bit. I gave my body a chance to recover and my mind a rest from the pressure of being “in training.” I slept in, did my runs later in the day, didn’t worry about pace, and gave the boys a chance to participate. They let me push them to the park in the stroller and play with them on the playground before I ran them home. Manchild was kind enough to encourage me to run faster on occasion — and to wonder why we were going very fast on others. It was fun. It was refreshing. It was relaxing.

And now, with race day less than two weeks away, I’m feeling excited about it. I’m feeling ready. I’m not stressing (too much) about the details.

It is hard to see if you are overtraining, I think, because — duh! — of course you are tired and sore. You’re running sooo much. And you have so much else going on. It’s easy to think that it’s just a rough patch that you need to soldier through, or that you’ll feel better next week when your training is a little less intense. It’s tempting to say, “I can’t take any days off if I want to PR, so I’m just going to ride this out.” But that could lead to serious injuries or illness that keep you from racing at all. So it’s important to take a step back, evaluate, and see if you can make small changes that would allow you some more recovery time so that overtraining doesn’t take you down.

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