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A Look At 4 Months of Being Injured

A lot of people have asked me how I came back from a serious injury so quickly.  This is a longer post for me, so grab your coffee because it will be a while.  After four months, I’m finally running confidently.  While it seems like I’ve come back fast, I’m not recovered or in “peak shape” yet.  It may seem like it’s been a fast recovery period but in reality it’s been 4 months. Time keeps on ticking…into the future…

Right now I’m nowhere near peak condition but I’m not gimping around from an injury…nor am I claiming I’m still “in recovery mode”.  In my mind (knock on wood), I’m just training.  I’m in a weird limbo zone of not injured but not in shape either.  I’m just continuing to build my base up.

The base is the most important part of your running.  Without a strong foundation laid slowly brick by brick, your running will crumble.  As I’ve learned, consistency is one of the most important aspects of base building. 

For a brief time line: I woke up August 22nd with a bruised and swollen foot.  I have absolutely no idea what happened or where it came from.  It was later confirmed (after an MRI and X-ray) that I had a stress fracture.  It didn’t happen during a run and honestly I don’t know how it happened.  When I first woke up, I thought I had walked into a wall.  I just thought I had bruised my foot. After getting out of bed, I realized it was something more severe.

My best guess is the cause was hard training for 2 years and not enough time off. I took sporadic weeks and a couple of months off but I did a lot of hard training and I think it all finally caught up to me. So my injury began August 22.

From August 22 to September 21st, I did not run at all.  After being in a boot a couple of weeks, I did light cross training but focused on just relaxing and resting.  Since the boot was removable, I could have cross trained through the injury but I opted to rest.  

It seemed stupid (because it is) to remove a boot or cast so that you can go to the gym. In my mind there wasn’t a desperate need to train.  I’m not on a collegiate team anymore, I’m not elite and my life does not depend on running…so I didn’t stress about cross training. it’s weird for me to look back and say I was strangely at peace with my injury. After everything leading up to August, I’m not sure I wanted to run the Wineglass marathon anymore.

My doctor cleared me to run 1 mile on September 22.  The doctor (as well as myself) did not believe the injury was as severe (closer to a reaction than fracture) because it did not happen during a run. 

I had been out of the boot for a two weeks and had no pain (or gimp) when walking around. I had cross trained and been on my foot with no pain or issue.

After my checkup I ran the mile. I was told to “see how it goes, if it hurts stop. It doesn’t hurt, still stop after a mile”. During the run and directly after I felt fine.  The next day my foot didn’t feel great so I waited another two weeks before running again.  The day after running the single mile my foot had minor swelling and was achy.  It seemed like I had taken a step back in recovery.  I truly believe that mile cost me a couple of weeks of recovery.  Oh well, you live and learn.

Around mid October I slowly began running again.  I kept to running 1-2 miles outdoors as well as running several miles on the alter G at work.

Timeline:

Week 1-4: Almost complete rest.  Weeks 1-3 were complete rest and a bit of cross training week 4.  Nothing more than 30 minutes and nothing strenuous.

Week 5: 1 mile (regrettable).  I honestly wish I had never run this mile and waited another week or 2.

Week 6: No running.  I did cross train a few times but nothing more than 30-45 minutes.  I alternated between the AMT as well as a standard elliptical.

Week 7: 3 miles outside, 15 miles Alter G (70% body weight).  Each mile felt good (unlike 2 weeks ago).

Alter G life

Alter G life

Week 8:  6 miles outside, 15 miles Alter G (70% body weight)

Week 9:  20 miles outside

 (A photo of how I felt after running a 20 mile week)

(A photo of how I felt after running a 20 mile week)

Week 10 and beyond (I’m at week 17 now):

I have built up from there.  The biggest jump for me was between week 8 and week 9.  I wasn’t sure how my body would take that big of a jump.  I went from 6 miles to 20 miles.  All of these miles were very easy (between 10-12 minute miles).

Was it the smartest idea?  No but I lucked out.  As I continue to build my base, I continue to monitor my foot as well as overall body feelings.  If I feel any pain, I take a rest day.

Just because I’m almost over the hump with one injury does not mean I am out of the clear of a completely different injury. I’ve had a minor hiccup a few weeks ago where my plantar fascia was sore.  I quickly scheduled a deep tissue massage and it went away within a day.

Overall Health:

There were a few things (with nutrition and health), I questioned when I was diagnosed with a stress fracture.  I questioned my bone density.  I have a regular period (and always had) but getting a stress fracture made me worry about my hormones and bone density. After being diagnosed, I wanted my bone density and hormones checked.  Overall health is more important to me than logging miles.   Both my hormone levels and bone density came back normal.

Nutrition:

Before getting my stress fracture I normally got roughly 100% of my daily required calcium intake through food.  I also took a calcium supplement daily (So in total I was in taking between 100-150% of my calcium daily).

After my diagnosis, I upped my calcium intake and am currently in taking 200% of my calcium daily (from milk, cheese and dairy…IE food) as well as taking a calcium supplement twice daily.

Overall thoughts:

Throughout this injury I’ve done a lot of little things that have helped me to come back.  I took time off, I ate foods that helped me nutritionally and I’ve paid more attention to myself both physically and mentally.  I think it’s important to look at a multiple prong attack plan. Just resting or just eating well would probably not allow me to come back stronger.

So where does this take me now?

I’ve been running well. I’ve been thinking a lot about my previous marathon experiences.  In both NYCM and preparing for Wineglass I believe I was overtrained.  Last May-June I was having very successful 20 mile runs (for a race that wasn’t until October).  I fear if I waited until the fall doing the same type of training again I would be overtrained again.  

That is why I’ve chosen to sign up for the Phoenix Full Marathon on February 28th.

pheonix full marathon

It will be roughly 4 months post injury.  I think it gives me a short but doable training cycle.  Will it be a sub 3 hour full marathon?  No, probably not.  My primary goal is to make it to both the start and finish lines healthy.  I would by lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but I think I’m sitting at a good spot right now.  I’ve completed a 17 miler 2 months out (with the hopes to complete a 20 miler in the next 2 weeks).  It gives me enough time to build fitness but not enough time to overdo it. Due to course differences and logistics, I might be able to take a stab at my marathon PR (3:17). Phoenix is much easier and low key race compared to New York. I’m also not driving 2000 miles prior.

Who knows what the future holds? As always thank you to my family, friends and readers for your support throughout the last four months. 💁💁

Questions for you:

How do you build a strong foundation post injury?

What is your average marathon training cycle length?

 

 

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Aches, Pains and 34 Miles

This last week I’ve found myself asking, when do I begin to train with purpose?  When do I consider myself recovered enough to even considering myself training?  When can I stop telling people I’m recovering and am “just training”? I still don’t really have an answer for that honestly.

I desperately want to say I’m “just” running and “just” training.  I don’t want explain I’m recovering from injuries.  That being said this week has been a pretty good week for running.   I’ve felt decent the entire during each run.

During the day my foot has felt slightly achy in both the point of fracture and all over. The thought of running fast (right now) makes me cringe.  I tried to visualize myself racing and I just had the thought of my bone breaking into one million pieces (That probably isn’t the best visualization to have).

That being said my runs are ticking off at a decent progression.  I’m still not concerned with pace.  I’m concerned with keeping it consistent and time on my feet.  I have talked to several people and professionals about the possibilities of the ache in my foot. There are many possibilities such as a dull ache of a bone break, my bone reforming or even tendonitis.  It hasn’t changed my gait and it sounds like it’s normal “running post fracture ache”.

The advice I was given was keep it consistent and if your foot pain changes, we will reevaluate you.  All in all I was very happy with my week of training.  I think I’m more paranoid than anything else honestly.

Monday: 4.25 miles
Tuesday: 4.25 miles
Wednesday: 6.42 miles (1 hour of running)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4.25 miles
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: 7.2 miles (65 mins of running)
Total: 31 miles

Goals for next week:

It’s hard for me to believe next week it will be mid November.  I had hoped to have a “test” race sometime soon but I think I’m going to continue to keep my training relaxed.  I am recovering a lot slower than I would liked or predicted but that is how some injuries go.  I’m not upset and I’m starting to feel strong and confident as a runner.

Next week I hope I’ll be around 35 miles (around being key).  I am hoping for a 70-75 minute long run next week as well. I’m going to integrate cross training as well as strength work back into my running.  I’m also getting a deep tissue massage tomorrow which I look forward too.

Questions for you:

Are you running for mileage or time?

What was your best workout of the week?

October Running

I’m not sure where to begin with my running in October.  I actually ran more then one mile so that is a head start.  I wouldn’t consider it “training” because I’m not training for anything right now. I’m training to recover.  While my runs are injury free, I still consider myself in that awkward limbo of recovering from an injury.  I never know to classify myself as healthy or not in this stage.  I’ll classify myself as healthy with a *.

Last month’s goal was to be able to keep recovering and hopefully run more.  I did run more than September because September I ran one mile and in October I ran 60 miles.

Between running on the Alter G and running outdoors I ran 60 miles.

Total miles: 60 (I ran 60 times more than September)

Alter G miles: 20 (Alter G running thoughts and part 2)

Outdoors miles: 40

Range of paces: 8:45-12:02-untimed

Overall thoughts:

I’m so glad to be getting back on the running track.  The last month has been a  big motivator that I am healing.  I know it sounds repetitive but I am ready to run again.  I will continue to say that.  I am still having dull aches now and again but I have been told that is normal.  The weather this weekend got drastically cold and I could physically feel my foot aching a bit.  I’ve been told that is normal.  Has anyone else noticed they can feel their bones with the weather drastically changes, or am I going crazy?

This month has begun to build my confidence.  As I said on Sunday, it will be a long road to PRing and having any major confidence but it’s a road I’m ready to take.

My goal this month is simple: Build my base.

I want to run easy miles and not worry about time or pace.  Last month I ran miles anywhere between 8:45=12+ pace per mile but I still ran.  I enjoyed my running and I will continue to do the same.  I am in a critical point right now that running too many miles with injure me.  My bones are strong but at the same time, I still have a point that is weak.

All of that being said, I may sign up for a  race.  I would like to get a baseline and see where I am and where I want to go.  It’s hard to create any goals if you have no idea where to begin.  It’s also hard to pick a goal race with no base line.  I have started to look at possible races in the future but I want to get a good sense of where I am right now.

I am hoping that 2015 will be my year of running.  2014 was a great year (life wise) but I am leaving the year with a somewhat sour taste with running.

Anyways this has been my most exciting training post for the last 3 months.  Here is to moving forward and hopefully a more exciting post for November!

October (outside of working out):

Outside of working out, life was all over the place.  Tim got back from a deployment and we had a great time going to Cape May.   I ended up moving 50 minutes down the road (still in NJ).  Work was another solid month and I’ve continued to enjoy that.  I also went to my first blogger event, FitBlogNYC.  Other then that I have truly been a boring person outside of the internet this month.  I haven’t been stressed and I’ve enjoyed life. November will probably be more interesting because of the Holidays and more time to actually do fun activites.

Questions for you:

How were your October workouts?   How was life in October? 

When is your next race?

More Miles, Less Problems

More is not necessarily better.

That is something I’ve been struggling with all week.  I want to run more miles because I’m feeling awesome.  I don’t want to jynx myself but it’s hard when the sun is shining, your body feels awesome while running and life is going according to plan.  Then the weekend comes and it pours rain on Saturday…even resulting to feeling awesome on the treadmill.  That being said I’ve kept to not overdoing it, despite being hard.

This last week of running has felt great.   My biggest problem has been physically stopping my runs.  While I have been adding distance, I have not been pushing the distance.  For instance, Monday I felt extremely good when I ran.  I wanted to keep running.  I had time to keep running but instead I finished right at my house.  I’m really trying not to overdue it right now.

This week it was all about adding miles (but not too many).  I feel like I’m playing a tug of war game with myself.  I have one side pulling for more miles because I feel good and one side pulling for less miles and to build up slowly.

sun is shining

It’s hard for me to believe this time last year I was running the New York City Marathon.   The marathon was certainly a humbling experience and today has made me really want to get out there and run another one sometime soon.  If I give you no life advice (should you even trust my life advice?) but always smile for the cameras.

Marathons are so fun!

Marathons are so fun!

Anyways-

Monday: 3.35 miles
Tuesday: 4.3 miles
Wednesday: 3.35 miles
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 4.3 miles
Saturday: 4.15 miles (treadmill)
Sunday: 5.2 miles (50 minutes)
Total:  25 miles

 

This all seems like a random amount of miles I’m running.  In reality, I’m just running around my neighborhood trail and it ends up being that long.  On Saturday I ran on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  My pace has been between 9-10 minute miles and that is fine by me.  I felt really good during my long run this morning.  I felt cold but good.  I didn’t have any major aches or pains.  I truly feel like I’m beginning to recover.

This has been my best week of running in the last few months and I hope it only gets better.

Next week: 

My goals for next week are to continue to build my base.  I am hoping to get out of the mindset of injury recovery and more into the mindset of getting back in shape.  It’s a long road before I begin PRing again but it’s a road I’m finally excited to get back on!

Questions for you:

How do you build confidence after injury (or baby, or time off, or in running)? 

What was your best workout? 

Training: The Week I ran Outside 3 Times!

When life gets in the way you work out less.  At least that seems to happen to me.  As most people know (and it merits its own post too), Tim and I have officially moved. It’s about 50 minutes from our previous location.  Securing the house caused us to need to move and have all of our stuff into this new house by today (Sunday).

Within this last week we have packed and moved everything.  This time last Sunday, we were living normally in our previous house.  We knew we were moving and had packed a few things but not much. Now we are completely in a different house.  A special thank you goes out to Tim’s parents who really helped us out. It’s funny how fast these things happen! Blogging and workouts took a backseat this week.

So yes, I’ve been busy and honestly rather stressed.  I wish I could tell you I made it to the Alter G at work (which is 50 minutes there) but I didn’t have the time to spend 3 hours for that (drive 50 minutes, run, drive home). I needed to pack more than I needed to workout.  That being said, I feel like I’ve done a lot this week even though I’ve worked out far less. As weird as this sounds I feel like this is the most productive training week I’ve had in 7 weeks (all due to essentially 30 minutes of running this week)! 

And I’m fine with that.  I ran outside three times this week and I would prefer

Monday: 5 miles Alter G
Tuesday: 1.25 miles outdoors
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: 1.25 miles outdoors
Friday: 1 Hour AMT
Saturday: 1.25 Miles outdoors
Sunday: 5 miles Alter G

 

Actually, realistically I got a lot of running in.  I didn’t feel bad when I ran.  Obviously I wouldn’t have run if I did.  I felt a bit of soreness after each mile outdoors.  There was nothing that felt uncomfortable or that changed my gait cycle. At this current point, I am very aware of my foot. Honestly I’ve never come back from an injury not being hyper aware of my issue or problem. This has been the longest road to recovery I have had from any injury. Between my arch problem and this stress fracture I’ve spent over 3 months down and out!

At this point I will take any injury free miles I can get. My plan next week is to take each day as it comes. I won’t run over 2 miles in one run. I will probably run between 5-8 outdoor miles if everything goes well and perfectly. I will also go to the Alter G when everything from this move settles down. While I’m not sponsored for the Alter G, I am very fortunate we have one at work. It is something I will continue to use when I’m healthy.

I’m very much hoping I’m finally recovering and starting a new chapter in my running. This has been my longest recovery from an injury.

Emoji fingers crossed and healthy foot emoji.

Questions for you:
What is your longest injury?
How many times have you moved?

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