Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Woman Without a Plan

I love to plan. I love to do lists. Making training plans for races makes me giddy. But lately my to do list has looked more like this:

empty to-do list

Empty and boring

Thanks to my recent IT band problems my training plan has been collecting some serious dust.  This has left me so bummed and kind of weepy.

So this weekend I put together a new plan.  Since I’m working in a six week time frame (can you believe April 10th is 6 weeks away?!) my goals obviously have to be adjusted or else I’ll end up hurt again.  I’m trying to keep this from adding more “bummed and weepy” to my life but tacking 10-12 minutes onto my expected finish time is a little hard to swallow (though totally expected when I was only able to run 5.5 miles in the month of February).

Looking back, when I registered for the GW Parkway Classic I said “I really want my training for this race to be fun and I don’t want to get hung up on making sure I cover every single mile” and I’m trying to stand by that.  The race is on a gorgeous course and running a little slower will give me more time to enjoy it.  No matter what I do to prepare in the next six weeks, I’ll feel like I could have done more but at least I know I’ll be there enjoying my first 10 miler.  There will be more, I’m sure of that. 🙂


Filed under exercise

Avoiding the Panic Button

Happy Belated President’s Day!

(Who’s ready for the return of baseball season? Me!)

I’ve been a terrible blogger. I’m sorry! I was so excited by my successful mile run and then I just disappeared from the internet.  Part of that was a side effect of my busy weekend (spent in large part eating my face off) but it was mostly because my knee started to ache terribly on Friday and Saturday and I wanted to assess the damage before heading over here and pressing the panic button.

(I’d like one of these added to my keyboard, stat!)

It turned out that waiting it out was a good plan. By Monday, my knee felt good again so I decided to head out for a mile and a half run. Nothing hurt when I was running (other than my lungs, but that’s another story) and now, 30+ hours later my knee still feels completely fine.  As long as the weather holds up I’m planning for another short run on Thursday.

It’s funny, when I went to the orthopedist a few weeks ago he asked me if my knee had been bothering me for awhile and I was quick to say “not at all”.  But now that I’ve been through that fiasco, I am paying  a lot more attention to every little ache and twinge and I’m pretty sure I have felt the knee ache I felt this weekend before – only this time it registered as something to worry about when it didn’t before.  I wonder how many signs of injury I’ve ignored because I like to get out and run.

Have you ever ignored or missed injury warning signs? How do you keep yourself running and healthy?


Filed under exercise

1 Mile Just Rocked My World

This is the face of someone who just ran a mile for the first time since January 30th!


I took it super slow on the first half, stopped and stretched and ran the second half pretty quickly – much faster than I was planning on.

Split 1: .50 @ 5:42
Split 2: .50 @ 5:06
Total: 1 mile: 10:48

My knee feels good. I stretched and foam rolled and I’m about to ice, just in case.  My only problem was breathing.  Honestly, after 2 and a half weeks off I wasn’t expecting to get such an epic side stitch. Note to self: remember to breathe when running.

Saturday I’ll try to go back out and do a “long run” of 1.5 miles.  Do you have weekend work out plans? I hope everyone enjoys this awesome early spring!


Filed under Uncategorized

Lady Luck

I seem to have pretty remarkable luck when it comes to blog giveaways.  In December, I won a huge giveaway from iRunnerBlog.

(photo credit: Amy Peters Studio – I’m glad I stumbled upon that picture, her jewelry is super cute!)

This morning, I got an email informing me that I won a pair of purple Zensah shin sleeves. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m straight up obsessed with Zensah products. If I had a dollar for every time I told someone to buy a pair of shin sleeves**, I could probably have two race entry fees covered. As described on their website:

If worn during training or competition, compression helps stabilize muscle tissue, keeping the swelling of muscle fibers at a micro and manageable level. The benefits of compression support and the ability of compression to increase oxygen blood flow to the muscles cannot be overstated because the performance benefits are so impressive.

The less scientific version of this is simple: they kill shin splints. As a new runner, I had some pretty epic shin splints until I read Healthy Ashley‘s post about how to kick them. Her number one tip was Zensah sleeves and I never looked back.

Big thanks to Mom.Wife.Fitness.Life and RunJunk for hosting the giveaway!


**I don’t.


Filed under exercise

Almost Healthy…I’m Ready to Run

I am so close to finally being able to go out for a run! Just two more days until I can go outside and run a nice, slow, flat test mile and hopefully my IT band will enjoy it.  It feels remarkably better, so I’m very optimistic.

I have been quite absent on the blog in the last week because I haven’t had much interesting happening .  I’ve been stretching the IT band and not doing a lot else.  I did a little recumbent cycling at the gym and tried to do some upper body lifting but even that made my IT band uncomfortable.  I took it as a divine sign encouraging 2 weeks extreme laziness and fully complied.  I’ve spent a lot of time snuggling with my dog.

(this picture is extra funny because my dog only weighs 7 pounds. Natalie Dee = wonderful)

On Sunday, I volunteered at the Love the Run You’re With 5K.  It was so disappointing not to be able to run, but I actually had a fantastic time volunteering at packet pick up.  I really liked the Pacers team and it was great to spend a few hours with new people.  After, I went out and watched the race and kept my camera trained on the finish line so I could get a picture of Suze crossing the finish line.  As she crossed, I realized I had drained my battery waiting.  In retrospect, I suppose keeping my camera on and zoomed in for a solid 30 minutes was not smart.

We met up with a slew of run bloggers and tweeters for a brunch/lunch. Everyone was so friendly and funny.  As a huge group, we were kind of split into two sections of a really long table.  There was a lot of laughter at my end of the table, and by the looks of the pictures that  Liz has, the other side of the table was having just as much fun.  I’m pretty excited to see this group again.

Luckily, I don’t have to wait long.  I’ll be seeing Beth, Amy and Suzanne for some pool running bright and early tomorrow morning.  I’ve never tried it before (and I haven’t been up that early in a really long time) but I’m excited.  I’m so ready to get back to running!


Filed under exercise

When Happiness Attacks

Do you ever have one of those mornings where you wake up feeling like this:

or maybe like this:

I did this morning!  I had a great night’s sleep last night.  For the first time in quite awhile I woke up feeling really awake.  When I got out of bed to take the dog out, I realized my knee feels great.  I’ve had a lot of residual achy feelings in my knee since the cortisone shot and as the pressure in my knee lessened up my actual IT band got super tight.  I’ve spent the last week pretty worried that after two weeks I’d be back at the orthopedist.

Last night, I went to the gym for the first time since January 3oth! I did a whopping 17 minutes and 30 seconds on the recumbent bike.  I pedaled in super slow mo, making sure I didn’t push it and irritate my knee. I hardly broke a sweat, which for once is something to be proud of.  I think I burned less than 50 calories but I know it was good to get my knee moving again.

Thankfully, my gym buddy Susannah was there to stretch with me for awhile after I was done (she just rocked a nice 5 miles on the treadmill).  I’m amazed at how much the stretching and strengthening has helped.  Especially this move:

(note to self: be a better blogger and remember to get pictures of yourself next time!)

To be sure I don’t push my limits too fast and re-upset the IT band, I’ve decided to volunteer at Love the Run. I knew if I didn’t stay involved in the race in some way, I’d wake up Sunday and decide to run on a whim since I can see the starting line from my bedroom.  So if you’re running, I’ll be at packet pick up at the Pacers on Pentagon Row on Saturday from 4-6 pm and at the bag drop on Sunday morning.  Come by and say hi or look for me at the finish line cheering for the boyfriend!

The official countdown has started – 7 more days until running resumes!



Filed under exercise

Suddenly Injured and Lessons Learned

Tuesday evening,  I was watching TV with the boyfriend and my knee started to ache.  By the time bed time rolled around I couldn’t easily bend or unbend my left leg.  I was completely confused because I hadn’t been to the gym since Sunday. Why was this suddenly hurting so badly?  I ended up going into the living room and trying to sleep in the recliner so I didn’t keep BF up all night.  I didn’t get any sleep, but at least he did.

Wednesday morning I was feeling pretty awful.  I actually cried walking down the stairs at the Metro.  As soon as I got to work I called my mom, an orthopedic nurse in Pennsylvania, and begged for some advice.  She suggested going and getting it checked out.  She reminded me that it’s always a good idea to get in as an existing patient with a specialist so in the event of an emergency I can have a good relationship with a doctor.  My mom is smart.

So began my quest to find an orthopedist.  Not to digress into a “what is wrong with health care in America” post, but this was an eye opener.  I have good insurance and can see pretty much any doctor in the DC/VA/MD area.  I called 10 orthopedists, many of which were affiliated with major hospital centers (I’m looking at you GWU Hospital) and the earliest appointment I could find was February 15th, almost 2 full weeks away.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, I was actually scolded by two offices and told “This isn’t an urgent care facility. If you’re in pain maybe you should go to the Emergency Room.” Really? This is why Emergency Rooms are overcrowded disasters.  Thankfully, Emily at  Daily Garnish had visited a great orthopedist in Northern VA and gave me their contact info.  And even more thankfully they were able to squeeze me in at 2 pm.

After a few x-rays to make sure there was nothing chipped or broken in my knee, I was quickly diagnosed with IT Band Syndrome.  Bummer, but thankfully very treatable.

People who suddenly increase their level of activity, such as runners who increase their mileage, often develop iliotibial band syndrome. Others who are prone to ITBS include individuals with mechanical problems of their gait such as people who overpronate (source).  I fall into both of these categories and have definitely learned a very valuable lesson about over training.  As I mentioned in my last post, I covered way more miles in January than I have ever before while not cross training as much as I wanted to.  While I’m still proud of powering through all of those miles, I really did set myself up for this injury. Actually, my doctor was shocked that I didn’t feel any pain prior to Tuesday.  Apparently my tendon was so inflamed that he thought I’d been hobbling around for weeks.

Whats happening now: Yesterday I received a cortisone shot in my knee (since the tendon was extra-inflamed the good doctor decided to hop right in with the shot, even though it’s typically a second appointment treatment) that was extremely helpful (albeit extremely painful) and some prescription anti-inflammatory pills.  I’m not allowed to exercise at all until Sunday, which is the Super Bowl so I’ll take an extra day off.  Next week, I’m going to start incorporating a whole bunch of IT band stretches into my daily routine along with some light cycling (sadly no spin class, I’ll be the person hanging out on the recumbent bikes reading a book) and that’s it.  No running for 10-14 days. Last night, I was pretty “woe is me about this”, because I had big plans for a Valentine’s Day 5K PR with the boyfriend.  While the race is 11 days into 10-14 day run ban, I could probably jog/walk the 5K, but I’m not really sure if I want to, though BF said he’d walk the whole thing with me if I decide to participate (awwww).  I have a lot of races planned for the spring and I really don’t want to miss out of any of them because I didn’t give this time to fully calm down.  10-14 days off from running is a pretty light sentence for ITBS, I need to be very thankful for that.  I promised the doctor I’d use common sense in deciding when to get back out and I should  make good on it.

Have you ever experienced ITBS or another running related injury? How did you pass the time while you weren’t allowed to run?


Filed under exercise, Uncategorized