Injured Reserve

It has now been 5 days since I injured my knee when falling during the Whispering Pines 50K DNF, and it has been a long 5 days.

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In the NFL when a player gets injured to a point where he will not be able to effectively play again during the regular season, he gets placed on the dreaded season-ending Injured Reserve (IR). If I were an NFL player in the middle of the season, I don’t think I’d be considered bad off enough to be placed on IR, but any plans I had for a long-distance race this summer are on hold as I wait to see how this latest issue plays out.

I haven’t been sidelined from running due to injury since September 2011 when an IT Band Syndrome flare-up limited me to about 10 miles for the month.

Photo from 2011 when I was religiously icing a badly-behaving IT band.

It was frustrating then and it is frustrating now, especially because this time I am more worried about how long I need to rest before my knee is truly healed.

I have had a couple of people make a comment to me about how you have to take care of your knees or they’ll be useless when you’re older, and that makes me scared to rush back to anything. Plus, I haven’t seen a doctor, because I really don’t think I need to, but their comments have made me second-guess that as well.

Since Saturday, when my knee was at its most painful and stiffest, and Sunday when it was at its most swollen, I have seen a lot of improvement. I have been wearing a knee brace every day to keep myself from bending it too much, since that is what causes the most discomfort, and I have been icing several times a day, incorporating some heat as well. Swelling is down and discomfort/pain is at a minimum.

I know it is silly to diagnose myself for anything via the Internet, but my initial symptoms fit very well with a knee sprain, and according to at least one site, a minor sprain could be fully healed within 2 weeks. If I am still experiencing any discomfort or pain 2 weeks post-injury, I will go see a doctor then to ensure there is nothing more serious at play. But for the most part, I am 100 times better than I was on Saturday and I am definitely going to play it safe as far as re-entering activity.

I will continue to look on the bright side that I didn’t break or tear anything, and pray that I will be able to return to some running within the next month. I also will definitely take being able to run a little less for granted.

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A rainbow on the way home Sunday.

A 6-mile walk in the park (Whispering Pines 50K DNF)

I came, I saw, I fell, I DNF’ed. The story of the Whispering Pines 50K turned 10K hobble.

I had never DNF’ed a race before, but I also had never experienced an injury from my own clumsiness during a race before either, so I can’t feel too bad about it. Right off the bat this morning I knew the Whispering Pines race at the Tyler State Park in Tyler, TX, was more than I bargained for when I was out of breath from climbing a hill after the first quarter-mile. From what I did get to see of this course, it was single-track, hilly, pretty, and rough.

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The weather was humid, so that combined with the hills made me very nervous about how I was going to keep myself going over the course of 30 miles (three 10-mile loops). There was a lot of walking in the first few miles simply because you were either stuck in a single-file line of runners you had no room to pass, or you were climbing a hill and wanted to conserve energy. I told myself when it was flat or downhill, I would run.

And I was going downhill at about 3.3 miles when I slipped or tripped on a root and went spectacularly flying forward. I felt the pain in my left knee immediately, and my first thought was, “I’m going to have to quit.” A few runners came up behind me shortly and asked if I was OK. I was shocked at the sudden pain in my knee and knew I would need a minute to collect myself. When I stood up, I tried to stretch it out but the front of my knee was throbbing and the back of my knee felt strained. It had limited mobility and I couldn’t bend it back all the way without feeling pain. Less importantly, my right knee was bleeding pretty good and my shoulder was all scratched up. I must have rolled or something because both of my sleeves were smeared with dirt.

Even though I was only a quarter-mile past an aid station, I decided to go forward and see if the pain would go away. I walked/hobbled for a mile and then tried to run. Nope. I grappled for the next two miles with the thought of dropping out, but knew it was the right thing to do. There was absolutely no way I was doing 26 more miles on this knee, I couldn’t run and felt the pain even as I walked. Any time my shoe hit a root, it reverberated pain through my knee. I was bitterly disappointed, and when alone on the trail, I allowed tears to come. Then I’d quickly try to collect myself as someone came up behind me. I heard “On your left” about 5,000 times.

Shortly before arriving at the next aid station, I came upon another limping girl who told me she had rolled her ankle and was dropping too. We got to the aid station and got a ride with a volunteer back to the start. I was glad I’d had the three miles of walking to mostly get myself together, or else I may have bawled in front of all the volunteers. We got dropped off back at the start/finish, and I made my disappointing trip home after taking some Tylenol and wrapping up my knee with a cold compress.

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I am not extremely worried about my knee because I was able to walk those three miles without being in excruciating pain, and the pain is more dull now than sharp. From Google I am guessing I strained some ligaments or something like that, it sounds like a knee sprain. But I will have to ice it and monitor it over the next few days; if it doesn’t start to get better, I will go see a doctor.

I know I did the right thing because there will be other races and I really was not able to run anymore without pain, and had I tried to continue it probably would have gotten a lot worse. Had I not gotten injured, I would have had a VERY long and probably miserable day with those hills and that humidity, but I wouldn’t have quit and I would have felt very proud of myself when I finished it. So in one way, I know I escaped a rough day, but I also lost out on the feelings I would have had when I finished after a rough day. Besides, no one runs a marathon or ultramarathon because it’s easy! So it’s just ultimately disappointing.

May StrideBox

I was definitely having a case of the Mondays yesterday, so finding my latest Stride Box in the mailbox at lunchtime was a great pick-me-up. This is what was in the latest box:

CONTENTS

  • Gu Energy Chews – rebranded version of the Chomps
  • Tiger Balm pain relieving patch
  • Massage and recovery ball
  • Glukos energy gel
  • 2 packets Osmo hydration energy drink mix
  • Bounce natural energy protein ball
  • VitaPerk coffee boost mix
  • Make It Happen sticker
  • Coupon for VeloPress Believe Training Journal

The massage and recovery ball is the perfect size for the bottom of my foot. I’ve had some pain there recently and will be utilizing this ASAP.

I ate the Bounce protein ball at work that very afternoon because I was tired! It contained cacao, seeds and whey protein with 9 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

IMG_1405It was pretty good, though it had a minty flavor to it, which isn’t my favorite. I would definitely try other flavors.

This is the guide included with the box:

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Whispering Pines 50K

whispering_pines_2015I signed up for my second 50K, the Whispering Pines Trail Run in Tyler on May 16 (This Saturday!) The only problem is my IT band has been irritated during runs since the Brazos Bend 50K on April 25. I have been icing and stretching it regularly, as well as backing way off running and taking it easy when I do run. I am hoping this doesn’t affect me too badly during the race. This was this past week’s activity – it wasn’t much:

Monday – Ran/walked 1 mile and played tennis for 30 minutes. My IT band was really tight and irritated during that run/walk to the snowball stand, and it was after tennis, so that might have contributed. I had to work and had church the next two nights, so I rested it until Thursday.

Thursday – Ran 3.1 miles at the park with my husband. I warned him I might not do a full three miles depending on my IT band, so we ran around the park twice, which was two miles. I still felt fine up to that point, so we ran a half-mile out of the park and then turned around to come back the way we came. It wasn’t until we had to go downhill on the road that led to the park that my IT band did start hurting again. I backed way off and started walking the second the Garmin hit 3.1 miles. I stretched and iced it a lot after that, and decided not to run a 5K on Saturday that I had been considering because I knew I would feel pressure to run fast and possibly overdo it.

Sunday – I went out for an easy run, planning to stay out on the road for an hour and a half. The front of my knee on the same leg as the messed up IT band hurt a lot at first, which confused me. I stretched my leg a little and continued, and that specific pain went away. The IT band was tight at various points, and I would stop to stretch it. It was also HOT and I only had my 10-ounce handheld with me, so I ran out of water before I got back to my house. I took a few walking and stretching breaks, and took the running really slow. I only covered 8 miles in the 92 minutes. I sweated A LOT. My new Lululemon shirt was pretty much see-through by the end.

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I tried out three items from my last Stride Box for this run, and I liked two of them:

FullSizeRender1) Vega energy gel (orange zest flavor) – This was a thick and grainy gel that did not taste good. I’ll leave it at that. Did not like at all. I took it 15 minutes before my run.

2) Movit energy gummies (berry flavor) – These were pretty good, just not enough in a package. The package suggested eating 1-2 bags per hour of activity, and the bag itself was only 60 calories. They tasted fine and didn’t upset my stomach or anything. I took several during my run and felt a burst of energy each time. There were about 11 in the bag.

3) Ultima electrolyte mix (orangey orange flavor) -This tasted good and didn’t upset my stomach. It only had 15 calories and it was suggested that the packet be mixed with 8-12 ounces of water. That was the perfect amount for my handheld, but not enough for an entire run. After I ran out of the water in my handheld that I mixed this with, I stopped back at my house and got more (plain) water.

Running = Buying Stuff

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I saw this cartoon recently and had to laugh – this could be me and my husband inserted into this drawing. I have been going a little overboard buying running stuff lately, mostly clothing, though in the past couple of months I’ve also bought new shoes and a new Garmin, because mine was starting to mess up regularly. These are some things I’ve gotten lately –

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I have wanted a Lululemon Run Swiftly shirt for a lonnnnngggg time. Like years. So as a reward for running my first 50K, I finally bit the bullet and bought one. It came with this cute little bag that would be handy for bringing snacks or my lunch to work in. (Those little furry white feet belong to my nosy cat!)

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When we went to New Orleans in April to visit my family, it just so happened to be the weekend Tasc Performance was holding a warehouse/sample sale. I have bought several pieces from them in the past online, and the material is super comfortable and made of bamboo. I got three pieces, two for $5 and one for $10; these items are normally $30+! I was super excited and there was so much stuff there!

IMG_1209Shortly before the Brazos Bend 50K, I went by Academy to get some Shot Bloks for the race, and somehow found myself in the Clearance section where they had this cute Saints running shirt. It’s a Nike Dri-Fit. Love it and love my Saints!

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The aforementioned new Garmin – I previously had the pink Garmin Forerunner 10 and I decided to go with the same model because the 15 didn’t offer anything new that I really cared for, and the 10 was on sale at Amazon.com, so I went for it. I was also happy to get lime green, which was the color I initially wanted back in 2012 when I bought my pink one, but it wasn’t available.

IMG_1347 (2)I got these Reebok shirts on super sale at Dick’s this past weekend, love the colors! Plus the UA shorts were $5 off. I wear Nike Tempo shorts 99% of the time, but I tried on these and liked how they fit, so I may be branching out!

But seriously… I’m going on a shopping suspension. Need to be saving more money, spending less!

Park Life

We have not taken nearly enough advantage of the local park here, with its shaded running path and free tennis courts. We bought tennis rackets and balls last year, but had only gone to play tennis about twice before last week. We went out to the park and ran two miles last Thursday, then played tennis for 30 minutes. I am really terrible at it, but it’s fun and a good way to mix up activity.

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After tennis, we walked around the park one more time, which is about 1 mile. We walked by the snowball stand nearby right as it was closing, so my goal Monday when we went back to the park was to get to the snowball stand before it closed!

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Yesterday we played tennis for 30 minutes again, then ran a half-mile to the snowball stand. My left IT band is really irritated, so I think I am going to have to back way off on running this week. It is a busy week of work, so I can handle that, I suppose. Hunter got a snowball and I got a pickle, plus a pickle pop! Frozen pickle juice on a stick!

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It was super sour. After getting our goods we walked the half-mile back to our car. It definitely feels like summer!

April 2015 Recap

April was a pretty busy month and went by really fast!

Miles: 101

Races: 3

Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon – Groveton, TX

A Run Through History 5K – New Orleans, LA

Brazos Bend 50K – Needville, TX

Various highlights – 

– Spent Easter weekend in the Shreveport area and ran 17 miles along the Red River.

– Hit up the Tasc warehouse/sample sale while in New Orleans and got some of my favorite running clothing for super cheap!

– Got to pick my race day transportation and post-race poncho option for the NYC Marathon, which is now less than 6 months away!

may

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My goals for May are:

1) Rehab my IT band which was tight before the 50K and is now a little more irritated whenever I run.

2) Do the Whispering Pines trail run on May 16 in Tyler.

3) Play more tennis with my husband and do yoga or Pilates at least twice a week.

4) Depending on my IT band situation, run 65+ miles.

5 years running

Five years ago, I started my journey to becoming a runner. May 3, 2010 was a Monday, and what better day of the week to start something new than a Monday? It all started because I wanted to lose some weight, and my husband said he would exercise with me if we ran rather than just walked. I had walked a lot in high school and college, and a few years earlier my husband and I had spent a summer going running around a park near our university, probably getting up to 2 miles or so. But this was five years later, and at that point, I was barely active at all. We had to start out slow.

We headed out to Independence Park in Baton Rouge, where we lived at the time, and started out on the 1.3-mile path. The first milestone was to run about a quarter of a mile. Then we could walk for the rest of the loop. Soon enough, my husband started making us run again after a half-mile walking break. I remember being very annoyed when he sprung this on me unexpectedly the first time. I ran with anger sometimes! I would get myself through by promising myself I could buy a new dress from Anthropologie when I hit a certain weight goal, and imagining my options in my head. My running endurance progressed very slowly throughout that hot summer, where I often ran in an old pair of shorts and cotton T-shirt, but by the end of August, I could run around the park three times without stopping.

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In November, I ran a 5K with a friend, and I caught the racing bug. After a 5-mile race and another 5K in December, I signed up for my first half marathon and began venturing into the world of double-digit runs.

nov 2010

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feb 2011

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In January 2012, I ran my first marathon, something my May 2010 self would have never conceived possible.

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In five years, I have run countless races, seven marathons and one 50K ultramarathon. I can’t really remember what it was like not to be running. I am so glad I started out that hot May day, barely finishing a quarter-mile and hating every second of it. I have come so far!

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Brazos Bend 50K Race Recap

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I completed my first “ultra” marathon on Saturday, April 25 – a 50K (~31 miles) at the Brazos Bend State Park! This was a great event put on by Trail Racing Over Texas.

The weekend started early Friday afternoon when my husband and I set off for Texas after experiencing torrential thunderstorms at home all morning. Even though thunderstorms/rain were in the forecast for race morning, I wasn’t that worried. Three of my last four marathons were supposed to be rainy, and instead every single race was bright and sunny and dry.

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We drove the three-plus hours to the park, where I picked up my packet. Several people were camping out in tents at the start/finish, but I need a real bed, so after packet pickup, we drove the 30 minutes to Sugar Land where we had hotel reservations. We ate dinner at Guru Burgers and Crepes, then went back to the hotel and I got all my stuff together while watching the Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer.

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I think I got about 5 hours of sleep at best, waking up several times. My alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. and I spent about 30 minutes getting ready and all that before waking up my husband. “You’re crazy” is what he told me. “Not just for getting up this early but also for how long you’re going to run.” I responded: “I know. You ready to go?”

I wasn’t worried about traffic but I was concerned that the line to get in the park would be long – you had to pay to get in at the gates. There was quite a line, but it moved quickly. By the time we got through and my husband dropped me off at the start area, I had about 15 minutes to spare. I was in pretty good spirits, not nervous at all, just a little tired. I planned to take one extra gel than what I normally take during a marathon, and I also brought along a Honey Stinger vanilla waffle, ShotBlocks and Pocket Endurance nut butter in my Camelbak. I was able to fit my phone, wrapped up in two Ziploc bags, in the front pocket of my Camelbak, and I also had a SpiBelt with some ibuprofen, ginger chews, salt caps and Pepto Bismol tablets inside.

Polaroid CUBE

When the race started, the sky was overcast, but no rain yet. The first couple of miles were very congested, as the 50Kers and 25Kers started at the same time. 50Kers did two 15.8-mile loops, while 25Kers did one. There was also a 50-mile race that had started an hour earlier, and a 10K race starting a little later.

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The congestion finally cleared up a bit after 2 miles or so, and that is about the time the sky turned very ominous. It began thundering and lightning at about mile 3.

Polaroid CUBE

The first aid station was shortly after mile 4, and right after I went through there, the skies opened up and torrential rain began pouring down. This was actually pretty fun! The rain was coming in sideways and after a minute I was completely drenched. There was even some hail in the mix. Some people stopped running and were crowding behind a tree, but I didn’t think that was the best plan with the lightning. I decided to take my chances and just keep running. I found myself running faster than I wanted to while it was raining, as if I could outrun the rain.

Polaroid CUBE

The rain slacked off after about a mile, and drizzled for a little while longer. I got used to being wet and focused on trying to slow down. Of course, after this, the trails were completely wrecked and muddy! The scenery of this race was swampy areas with alligators lurking from the water. It was very pretty! I spotted several alligators, though none came even close to the water’s edge.

Polaroid CUBE

Polaroid CUBE

The second part of the course was more simple trails surrounded by trees. I tried at first to run in the more muddy parts, but my IT band did not like that, so I started having to slow down and walk around the parts of the trail that were just completely mud and water. I kept thinking there could be snakes in the water or in the grass that I was walking on at the side of the trail. I did see one small snake near the end of the race, in the grass. My fears for this race were: 1) getting struck by lightning, 2) an alligator coming onto the trail and 3) stepping on a snake.

I have no idea what my time was as I finished my first loop, but the race director gave me a high-five. I ran off the course for a second to get my bug spray I had left in the pavilion. The rain had completely washed me of the sunscreen and bug spray I had applied before the race, and now that the weather had cleared up, I had started to see the mosquitoes buzzing around. I thoroughly applied more bug spray, then began my second loop.

Polaroid CUBE

Polaroid CUBE

A couple of miles into the second loop, it began to thunder and rain again, but this lasted only a short time, and it never got as bad as that torrential rain in the beginning. I started partaking of things supplied at the aid stations – they had all kinds of stuff, but I mostly stuck to pickles, pickle juice and Ginger Ale. I also took some Hammer Endurolyte capsules they had. I couldn’t really stomach anything else, not even my own Honey Stinger waffle or nut butter.

Polaroid CUBE

For the second loop, I just kind of focused on running where I could – one part of the course had gotten so muddy across the entire width of the trail that you really couldn’t run at all unless you had good trail shoes. I was slipping and sliding even just walking. I also started taking my time at the aid stations, refilling my Camelbak, using the restroom, taking a moment to get everything settled. I was not that concerned about finishing time, I just wanted to endure.

Polaroid CUBE

In the last 9 miles or so, it suddenly got really hot. The rain had passed and the sun was out. The last out and back trail of maybe 4 miles was just muddy, kind of boring (surrounded by trees and no other scenery) and seemingly endless. I just wanted to finish! My stomach was also starting to feel upset. At the last aid station, a couple of miles to the finish, I drank some Coke and grape soda along with the Ginger Ale and pickle juice. I left the aid station and proceeded to walk the next mile pretty much. My Garmin died at about 5 hours and 57 minutes into the race, so I had no idea how far along I was, but I knew I was close.

When I got to the last mile or so, I stretched out my very tight IT band and then ran the rest of the way. I was very happy! I entered the finish area and saw my husband, who took some pictures of me, and then headed in for the finish line. I was happy to see I had come in under 6.5 hours. My official time was 6:27:06.

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Ultimately, the rain turned the course into a mess, which made several parts slower and more challenging, but the rain also provided a cool first half. Seeing how hot it got later in the race, I think without the rain it could have been more miserable because it would have been hot the entire time. So there were pros and cons to it! It is funny that my first big race in the rain was my first ultramarathon, after I escaped rainy marathons several times this year.

This was a really fun race, and I would definitely do it or another TROT race again. I don’t know when I will do another 50K, but I will definitely want to get a PR.

After the race, we pretty much hit the road to go home. I had a milkshake and french fries from Chick-Fil-A, then we had Mexican for dinner after I had time to shower and rest a little while. I have spent today, following church, laying on the couch. The things that hurt the most are my quads and surprisingly, lower back. I also chafed in several places thanks to the early rain! But no matter what – I love running!

A Run Through History 5K Race Recap

Over the past 5 years I have run many races and many places, but this past Sunday was definitely a first for me. IMG_1178 The Run Through History 5K in New Orleans took place entirely on the grounds of a historical cemetery. At first glance, my thought was — is this allowed? Is this okay? I remembered visiting the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and seeing signs emphatically stating “NO JOGGING.” I couldn’t believe anyone would have actually gone running there, as it seems so disrespectful. IMG_1200 Quickly I saw that this race specifically benefits Save Our Cemeteries, which is dedicated to restoration of New Orleans’ cemeteries — so it’s approved by the cemetery people and directly impacts the efforts to keep NOLA’s cemeteries in the best shape possible. New Orleans is pretty well-known for its historical above-ground burials and mausoleums, and some of the more famous cemeteries draw tourists quite often. IMG_1180 This race took place in the Metairie Cemetery, which can be seen from nearby I-10. I got my husband to agree to run with me, and we set off from my parents’ house 25 minutes away, about an hour before the race. We had a little trouble finding the entrance, but once parked, we picked up our race bibs and shirts with no problem and had plenty of time to get situated before the race started. Like many unique races, this event attracted runners and walkers alike. IMG_1193 It had rained off and on the day and night before the race, so the weather was pretty muggy and humid. The race started about 5 minutes late, but we set off at about 9:05 and it was a pretty quick run from there. The course was entirely on the paved roads throughout the grounds, with mausoleums on each side. There were also lots of pretty trees and shade. The race was pretty uneventful — just a lot of graves! IMG_1182 IMG_1184

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Finish line photo from NORSI Facebook page

I sped up for the last 0.75 and left my husband behind — sorry babe! I got a picture of him after he crossed — he hadn’t run in like two weeks and he forgot his good running shoes, so he was wearing like 10-year-old Saucony sneakers. So he did a good job, all things considered.

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Finish line photo from NORSI Facebook page

IMG_1186 Race results are not posted yet, and my Garmin messed up (this has become a trend lately), but I passed the finish line at about 30:30 gun time. We started about 20 seconds after the gun went off and the first half-mile was pretty congested. I maybe could have gone faster, but I’m OK with that time. IMG_1196 They had plenty of food and drink items after the race, and we got a snowball since we were dripping with sweat. It was so humid! After that we drove through a beignet/coffee place in Metairie on the way back to my parents’ house. Interesting race, for a good cause!