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a DNS

a DNS

Today’s training log was supposed to an exciting log about how I ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon…but I never made it there.

Admittedly, I chose not to go and I chose not to start the race. It was a conversation I had in my head weighing both the pros and the cons. I’m sure the events would have played out differently for many but at the end of the day, it wasn’t worth it to me to start a race when the risk of a more serious injury was high.

It isn’t my first DNS, and it probably won’t be last. On the day my flight was supposed to leave, I could barely walk. Traveling was a literal pain in the ass. Sitting for long periods…hurt, walking…hurt. Running last Wednesday was laughable. In fact, today, Monday, after a week of not running, it’s laughable (but moving in the right direction).

So what led me to a DNS?

I ran a few short runs after the 18.12 mile challenge with no issues. I felt fine. My gait felt fine. I felt fine. Nothing in my running life would lead me to believe I wouldn’t run my marathon. Somewhere around 7-10 days out from my marathon, my hamstring and butt started to hurt. Not just a phantom taper pain hurt, but something was wrong. I delayed saying anything, hoping it would be a quick fix. Truthfully, I also didn’t want unsolicited internet advice about it would be fine and it was just “taper pain”. It wasn’t me exaggerating; I was in pain.

Dr. Craig from Dr. Kemenosh worked on my legs and butt the last few days using active release. I was also able to make an appointment with Dr. Lisko.

There just wasn’t the time to get me back to running a marathon. I could have probably run. I might have been able to run the entire marathon, but there was a greater chance I would have to stop and walk due to my hamstring. There was also a chance, 26.2 miles of downhill running would lead to a torn hamstring. I knew the chance of me leaving the race, having not finished, something torn, or limping, was far greater than me finishing healthy.

What’s the point? Why put myself through 26.2 miles of pain? The marathon would be miserable, I wouldn’t run well, and I would take longer to recover. I would be out for months. So while the weekend wasn’t “the best ever”, I don’t have any regrets about skipping the marathon.

When I decided to forgo the Big Cottonwood Marathon, the race I spent 16 weeks training for, I didn’t take it lightly. It’s hard not to show up. To not feel like a failure.

Throughout my running and especially in my early twenties, I’ve been injured multiple times with many different injuries. This is the closest I’ve come to being injured race day without it happening during a race. (I broke my tibia during the Allen Stone-Run-Swim-Run in 2011).

The older I get, the more I realize running isn’t everything and never will be. I’m a big proponent of having other hobbies. Other hobbies that don’t relate to running or your “central hobby.”

If all you do is eat, breath, sleep, running, and suddenly it’s taken away from you, you have nothing. The same can be said about anything. If all you do is eat, breath, sleep, sewing…and it’s taken away from you, you have nothing. (and no, social media doesn’t count).

That is why you see more and more professional athletes having other hobbies. Steph Bruce and Lauren Fleshman make Picky Bars. Des Linden brews coffee. You need an outside hobby that doesn’t have you mindlessly scrolling social media, comparing and wishing it was you.

Last Wednesday was my final decision day, and when it came, my decision was easy. It was a no. An easy no. Not a tearful no. Just a no. A not worth it to go no. A do what’s best for me, no.

It’s funny, because I haven’t cried people have mistaken that as “not caring”. I am sad I didn’t race but I know it’s not the end of the world. There are more important issues in the world than not running a marathon.  Do I feel like I wasted the summer training? Not really, I would have still run. I wouldn’t have done 15+ mile long runs, but I would have still run.

After coming to terms with it, my day went on. I felt like I was in a fog, but I had other things to keep me busy.

By the time I knew it, I went to bed and moved on. Thursday and Friday were challenging, and my phone notified me I had missed my flight. I felt a quick sadness but moved on from that too. As the weekend progressed, I tried to stay busy. I went on a date with my husband and enjoyed a walk in Wissahickon.

Sometimes, you have to make hard decisions. Do I want to be injured for a couple of weeks or a couple of years? Would I feel satisfaction in running a 5-hour marathon, when two weeks ago I was in shape to run a 3:15?

So where does this leave me running wise?

I decided I would take two weeks completely off from running. That was my plan after the marathon anyway. Why not start it a week ago? I can walk with minimal to no pain, but the moment I try and run my right hamstring/glute says no. Sitting for long periods also hurts.

I’m still planning to take another week off from running and see where it takes me. If I’m 100% healthy with two weeks off, I’ll find something to salvage my season. (I’m not going to jump into high mileage again…). If I’m not 100% healthy with two weeks off, I’ll give it whatever time it needs to be 100% healthy. Plus, probably get an X-ray to cover my bases.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out, it does mean a lot.

Questions for you:

Have you ever DNS a race?

Has anyone else had hamstring issues?

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A History of Injuries

A History of Injuries

One of the most requested posts is about my history with injuries.

I haven’t always stayed injury free, and I have several injuries throughout the years. Before recently, my blog could have alternative names such as fueledbyInjuries or InjuriesNlolz.

Many of my injuries were because I overtrained or ran easy runs too fast.

Over time, I’ve learned that you can’t outrun an injury. Life doesn’t work like that. If you are worried, rest. Resting a few days often saves you from resting a few weeks, months, or even years. You don’t gain fitness in a day and you definitely don’t lose it either.

When I first started running in 2010, I had many years of haphazard running.  It took a lot of trial and error and learning from experience to determine what works best for me. As with anything, I learn best when I do something and make mistakes along the way.

You can read my full running story here (or in one of the headings above).

In summary, I began running in July 2010.  I ran off and on and was still a member of on my collegiate swim team.  Swim season lasted from September until late February, so there was no running during that time.  During the off-season, we were allowed to work out as we pleased, so eventually, I picked up running.

run for the hill of it

Here is my History with Injuries:

My first serious running injury:

Tibial Stress Fracture (July 2011-September 2011)

How it happened:
I ran every day for an hour on the treadmill.  I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to train fast every single day.  I thought to race faster you must train faster.  So every day I made the goal to beat the previous day’s mileage for 1 hour.  I never ran for more than an hour, but I ran seven days a week. I was running between 7-7:15 pace for an hour.

Ultimately I was far more exhausted from running 50 miles then I am now.  My body broke at a road race on my 21st birthday. Midway through a run-swim-run race, my body broke, My tibia fractured and I was done.

I learned more about myself than any other injury.  To be honest, I needed that injury to realize that training was idiotic and not right.  My tibial stress fracture shaped my training to include a lot more easy miles. I don’t time my easy runs anymore, and I don’t GAF whether the pace is 10 minutes or 8 minutes.

Happy 21st birthday to me with my non detected tibia SF

Cyst: August 2012-October 2012:

How it happened:
During September 2012, I developed a cyst in the arch of my foot.  The doctors still don’t know exactly how it formed it could have developed anywhere in my body (I’m so thankful it wasn’t my brain).

They don’t believe it was running related, but it prevented me from running.  I was able to run with minimal pain until the cyst became large enough to rip the muscle from my bone. After tearing the muscle off my metatarsal, it halted running completely.

After recovering for two months and a shot to reduce the swelling, I came back and ran my fastest college cross country race.

 

Fractured Elbow (August 2013):

How it happened: 

While cooling down at a road race in August 2013, I was hit by a cyclist.  I was knocked to the ground, and it fractured my elbow.  I was devastated, but after a week, I was able to run slowly.

I decreased mileage, but it ended up being the most nonserious elbow fracture I could have.  At the time, the decline in mileage was terrifying because I was training for my first marathon, NYCM.

It taught me; you have to roll with the punches. A few days of rest does not impact fitness.

When I got my sling off

Second Metatarsal Fracture (August 2014)

How it happened:
Fast forward to moving to Texas and then New Jersey. In August of 2014, I got a second metatarsal fracture. In hindsight, I believe I upped my mileage too quickly.  Even though I was running easy, I think my mileage went up too fast.  At the time, I was training for my second marathon, Wineglass.  I healed by race day, but it would have been dumb to run a marathon on a newly recovered stress fracture.  To be honest, I don’t think my heart was ready to race another marathon, and it was a good out.

I chose this photo because I think I ran a hard track mile and then the next day ran a 20 miler for the marathon. #dumb

Bum Butt (February 2015-March 2015)

How it happened:
I tweaked something running my second marathon and kept running.  Around mile 18, my butt started to throb.  By the end of the marathon, my whole left side was in pain.  Should I have finished the race?  Probably not…Did I PR? Yes…

I didn’t heal as fast as I should have because I continued to run after the marathon.  I took two weeks off (which helped) but then I ran too hard too fast.  Looking back, I made good progress and then threw it all away running again.  This is something I’m 100% kicking myself for…even though I had an excellent time at Shamrock 2015.  If I had taken a month off, I wouldn’t have had two months to deal with the issues.

Ankle Fracture June 2016:

How it Happened:
This was the only injury I’m not entirely sure what I did. Did I tweak my ankle running on trails? Did I run too much? I don’t know. In June of 2016, something felt off. I couldn’t pinpoint it, and it almost felt like plantar fasciitis on the outside of my foot. An X-ray confirmed I had a minor fracture. The fracture healed with time off but it worried something else was not right. Test results found my calcium, vitamin D, and blood levels were fine.

One thing my ankle fracture taught me was I liked hiking. After healing, I spent a good portion of the summer hiking and enjoying the outdoors that way.

There are many times I look back at my training and think: If I had taken a few more days off, or if I had realized that ache was a minor bone pain….but each is a lesson to move on.  I have learned that running in pain isn’t worth it to me.

You cannot outrun injury, and it will catch up to you.

I tell any runner, new or old; there is no shame in rest and easy days. I am to the point in life and running that it will never be my sole purpose in life. Resting and staying healthy is more important to me than running every day.

Question for you: Have you had a running injury before?

Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Last week was my longest half marathon in a while and I’ve been spending a lot more time on recovery.  Plus, as I continue to build mileage, I’ve been focusing more on running recovery too.  Most people know but I’m injury-prone, so I can’t get away with not focusing on recovering from running.  At this point, I don’t even try too.

Someone once told me that days off save seasons and I think it’s some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.  I apply that thought process every time I have an injury scare.  Believe me, I’ve gone to my PT convinced I have a stress fracture, only for him to say…no your leg is just tight.

Here are a Few Techniques to Help Recover Faster from Running:

Stretching:

We all know you should but how many people actually stretch after runs or night.  Probably not many of us. The foam roller can be our best friend post run, intense workout, or training session. I’ve attempted to add foam rolling more into my recovery routine.

Graston/ART:

I’m a big fan of ART.  It flushes out lactic acid from your legs and muscles quicker and you recover faster.  I’ve always recovered faster when I opted to get a deep tissue massage or ART.  If you are local, I highly recommend Dr. Kemenosh and his staff (and no they aren’t paying me to tell you that).  They have helped me in multiple situations from fixing my hip/piriformis after my last marathon to loosening up my calves, and even feet. I always have less muscle soreness when I see them.

Upping my Protein:

I’m not saying I have steak every meal but adding extra protein: including more eggs, greek yogurt, and lean meat has helped my muscles recover faster.  I’m not a nutritionist or dietician and don’t claim to be, I’ve just found it’s been working. I know a lot of people swear by chocolate milk. I find I am recovering from workouts faster when I have a protein source within 30 minutes of running, especially long runs.

Sleep:

This is an obvious one, but more sleep allows the muscles to repair. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep has become important to me as well as muscle recovery. We know sleep is important, but there are so many distractions that make it difficult to get to bed. I try and log off the internet around 9 pm.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I go straight to bed.

Easy Runs:

This week most of my easy runs have been in the 9-10 minute pace which is fine.  There is no point in racing training runs, that is when injuries are caused.  If you struggle with not being able to run slower, I highly recommend leaving the watch at home.

Recovery from anything, whether it’s a race or hard training cycle takes time.  Just like training, there is no secret that does it all at once.

Rest Days and Active Recovery: 

Full Rest days are needed and you shouldn’t be afraid to use them in your recovery process. You don’t need to be marathon training to need rest days. I’ve come to learn 7 days a week of running doesn’t work for me, so adding a rest day or active recovery day helps keep me healthy.

Recovering from running is simple and takes a few extra minutes. It is what keeps most people healthier and able to push through harder and longer workouts. Without running recovery, you will probably end up burned out or injured.

Related Posts:

Quick Core Ideas for Runners

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

Question for you: How do you recover from hard workouts? Any tips?

How to Find the Perfect Running Shoes

 How to Find Perfect Running Shoes

One of the most important decisions you can make as a runner is choosing the right pair of running shoes.

It’s essential to spend both time and money to pick out the best shoes for you.  Without proper running shoes, you won’t be running for very long.  While you can choose a shoe off of the shelf, it’s essential to get properly fitted by an expert.  There is no best-running shoe, and every shoe is the perfect pair of running shoes for someone.

How to find the perfect running shoe

Proper running shoes are going to prevent many injuries such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis.  They are going to help you run faster and further because aches will be the last thing you’re thinking about.

So how do you find the best running shoes?

First, it’s important to realize there is no “best-running shoe.”  Each running shoe is designed for a different foot type.  What works for me might not work for you or your friend.  Reading internet shoe reviews isn’t going to help you find a shoe that will help you.  Every foot is different, including your left and right. Some people need motion control shoes, others need neutral, or stability shoes, others need high cushioned shoes, it depends on you

Second, go to a running specialty store. Employees at running specialty stores go through training to figure out which shoes work for which feet.  They can tell you within a matter of minutes which shoe will work for you.  A process that can take you hours will be cut into minutes.  Employees at running stores also have a wealth of knowledge about the sport of running, including local events and races.  They are runners themselves and will know local races or even doctors or podiatrists.

You should plan to spend time in the store because the employee will ask you several questions, take a look at your feet, gait, and running form.  Don’t get to the store 5 minutes before closing time and expect to have time to be fitted.

What should you expect to find your perfect pair of running shoes?

First, the employee will ask you several questions, such as:

  • What are you using the running shoes for?
  • Every day walking? Training? Racing? Long Distances or long runs? Gym classes?  There is no right or “good” answer!
  • Do you have any aches or pains? Do you have blisters or black toenails? Do you have shin splints or knee pain? Pain in your hips or back? Let the employee know everything and anything…but please don’t show me an open wound.
  • What kind of running are you doing?
  • How often you run?
  • Where do you run? What kind of surface are you running on? Grass? Sidewalk? The treadmill? Maybe you are better with a trail shoe (Most people don’t realize you can’t take a trail running shoe on the road).
  • Are you training for a race or event?

Those are just a few questions you might encounter about your activity.

Then the employee will look at the shape of your feet as well as if you need arch support or an insert. It’s prevalent for someone to have two different sized feet.  They will look to see if you pronate, supinate or have a neutral gait.

Determining your foot type is the most critical part of finding the right running shoes.

Next, the employee will measure your foot. Keep in mind, your foot size changes and grows.  After having children, most women gain a half size.  Even if you’ve been the same size for years, your foot might have gotten longer or wider. Now that most shoes have a knit upper, it can be easier to get a better shoe fit, especially if your feet are wider or you have a bunion.

Another thing to keep in mind is running shoes should be 1/2 to a full size bigger than your casual shoe size.  There are very few exceptions to this rule.  When you workout, your feet swell.  If you are losing toenails, chances are your shoes are too small.  Blisters also form at the top of your feet because of improper sizing.  As someone who works in a specialty store, about 75% of athletes who come in are wearing the wrong size training shoe.

After the employee is done proding you with questions, they’ll bring a few options that are best fits for you.  They’ll have you try them on and run around in them.   From there you will decide how you like the shoe.  Do you prefer a soft shoe? Firm? Lightweight or heavier like Asics gel? Do you prefer a lower heel to toe drop? On race day, do you like the energy return from a shoe with a carbon fibre plate? Only you can decide what feels right.

Make sure you are ready to run.  Standing awkwardly in the running shoe for one second isn’t going to decide whether you like the shoe or not.  You should run in each pair of shoes.  Trust the employee they have chosen appropriate shoes for you.  The employee’s job isn’t too bring out the wrong shoes.

After making your final decision, make sure to test your shoes at home too.  If you develop pain, they may not be the right shoes. Most specialty stores have the policy to allow you to exchange the shoes even if you have run in them.  For instance, the store I work at allows you to exchange shoes for up to two weeks.  If they don’t work out, we want to know and for you to find something that does!

Since I work in a specialty running store, I do believe getting fit for a pair of shoes is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a runner.  There is no right or wrong answer for the best running shoes, but there is a right or wrong answer for the best pair for you.

Other Posts You Might be Interested In:
There is No Perfect Running Shoe
There Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners
Why Running Shoe Reviews are (Mostly) Worthless
Why You Should Rotate Running Shoes

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Question for you:
How did you find your perfect pair of running shoes?

 

Workouts: Recovery and a 5k

Is it that time already for another training log?

Last week flew by for me!

As most people know, I ran Rock n Roll VA Beach the weekend before last.  It drastically affected my training week because I spent the majority of the week recovering from the race.

I spent most of the week recovering and doing easy runs, but I’m doing easy runs throughout the week anyways right now.  There is no sense in doing another workout when I am racing pretty regularly. Hopefully, in a few weeks, I’ll feel comfortable enough to add a speed workout on top of racing too.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes Core (15 mins)
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes ART release session
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 45 minutes Core
Saturday: Flying Fish 6k (19:35)
Sunday: Easy 90 minutes
Easy Runs:

There is never much to say about them.  They are easy, boring and injury free.  To be honest, the half marathon took a lot out of me.  My calves are still tighter than normal.  It’s to be expected because it was my longest run, race, and sustained effort in quite a while.  In fact, I hadn’t raced a half since the April Fools half marathon in early April.

Flying Fish 5k (19:35):

flying-fish-5k

For the last few months, I’ve been excited about the Flying Fish 5k.  The race starts and is sponsored by the Flying Fish Brewery.  My work put on a group run with Flying Fish about three weeks ago, and I had been excited to race the rest of the month.

However, during the last week, my legs were clearly very tight, and the weather became a big factor.  I had already signed up for the sold-out race, so I decided to gut it out.  I ended up surprising myself with my fastest 5k time post injury by 30 seconds.  The race itself was well put together and a lot of fun.  If you are NJ/Philadelphia local, I recommend it.

I plan to keep trucking along and to recover.  I’m happy with how my recovery is going.  As I said last week, I wouldn’t classify myself in the injured stage anymore.  I would classify myself in the recovered but getting back into shape stage.  This might be the hardest stage to be in because you want to make goals for the next training cycle but you have no idea how fast you will “get back into shape”.

Posts from last week:
The Time I Saw A Bear While Hiking
A Timeline of my Ankle Injury

Questions for you:
Have you ever done a brewery race?
What is the hottest weather you’ve run in?

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