The Ups & Downs of Running

First, I’ve done a poor job of blogging on a monthly basis, but that’s not surprising since I tend to do this every year. I do like to blog after a race or due to an injury. I actually find blogging about an injury to be therapeutic plus I think of it as leaving a bit of a resource behind for others going through injuries. I know that I always google “x” injury and running blog to find others who have dealt with whatever I may going through at the time. It’s so helpful!

So, without further ado, I’m injured again! What?? Yes, I’ve definitely had my fair share of injuries in the last 3 years or maybe even more than my fair share. I have a mild stress reaction in my medial tibia, essentially, shin splints. This came upon me around week 10 of my Eugene Marathon training plan. Le sigh. It sucks! But, it could have been worse, it could have been a stress fracture. When I think back and analyze why this could have happened the two things I can point a finger towards are 1) biomechanics and 2) my body is just not able to meet the demands of back to back marathon training. Regarding biomechanics, I’ve always had a lot of motion in my right arch and overall like to fall in while I run, I think this was exacerbated by my grade 2 ankle sprain and I need to work on strengthening my arch so it doesn’t fall in plus some other biomechanics. I plan to do a full gait analysis once I’m back to running.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_a12f

I ran Lake Sammamish Half on March 10 and was having some mild posterior tibial tendonitis and calf tightness. I didn’t think too much of it as I was convinced it was all soft tissue stuff. I ran the half as a workout and felt pretty good during the race. My calf/shin was a little tight post-race and I took Sunday off so that I could run a quality track workout on Monday. I ran that workout and things were a little tight in my shin, but nothing too painful. This was the week where I wish I had taken a bit more rest. I did skip two of my runs and shorten my long run that week, but I was starting to get pain while walking. It was the strangest feeling as I’ve never had shin sprints in the past. I rested for 3 days post long run and tried running an easy 6 on the following Wednesday. That went well, but I quickly was sore again upon walking post-run. I took another rest day, attempted a run on Friday, aborted it by 1/2 mile and then rested a few more days. Trying to run every few days or so, but feeling pain upon impact on my right leg whilst running. Finally my PT suggested I get some imaging done since this soreness was lingering.

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.07.30 PMLuckily, I was able to get into see my new sports med doc quickly and saw her on Monday, April 2. This was my first time seeing my new doc since my old doc, Dr. Robertson, had retired. I loved Dr. Robertson he was a runner and just got it. My new doc is quite nice, but I don’t think she’s a runner so it’s less than ideal. I had an x-ray in the clinic and my doc showed me the fuzziness around my medial tibia which was likely showing that I had a stress reaction or a stress fracture. EEK! I was so nervous that I had a stress fracture and immediately started googling and reading pretty much every page mentioning stress fractures on the Let’s Run forum. I was able to get into an MRI on Tuesday and had an appointment to review my results on Wednesday. I feel so lucky that I have good insurance and that my appointments were so quickly lined up. I didn’t have to wait too long to find out the results. Still, it was a rough 3 days. Thankfully, it was a stress reaction and not a fracture.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_a155.jpg

My doc wanted me to take it really easy for another week so no cross training. She said 4 weeks of no running, but that I can start on cross training when I had zero pain while walking. My last cardio day was April 2nd, the day of my first doctor’s appointment. I did a mat workout last week, but otherwise have just been lounging about. I went to Portland on Thursday and walked about 4-5 miles and it was too much too soon. I was sore yesterday so have decided to take it super easy this weekend and not attempt spin or elliptical until mid next week as long as I feel zero pain while walking for a few consecutive days.

I miss running so much, but am hoping I can be back at it in May so here’s to a really healthy next two weeks and a speedy recovery. The good thing is that I know how to recover from an injury — almost too well. I’m bummed to miss out on running Eugene, but there’s always a fall marathon! I still will be going to Eugene to cheer for my friends and am excited to see them crush their races.

Advertisements

Farewell 2017, Hello 2018

 

2017 was quite a mixed bag. From a political and social perspective some awful things happened, but there were also glimmers of hope. There’s really almost too much to recount especially in a running focused blog, but highlights include the Women’s March, the rise of the #metoo movement, the Virginia elections, Doug Jones win, #TIMESUP, that Oprah speech, etc. I’ve learned that being political shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, and my goal is to be an educated and involved citizen.

From a professional perspective, I joined Amazon, and it wasn’t the right fit. I gave my two week’s notice last week and I’ll be a free agent as of January 19th.  Outside of work, I had an amazing year, I focused on recovering from my grade 2 ankle sprain and battling high hamstring tendonitis (right side this time). I trained for my 2nd marathon and felt like I really made a comeback!  I also have the award to prove it from my running group. 😊 I traveled to Fiji and Australia for the first time, and I can’t wait to make my 2018 travel plans. I spent lots of time with my chosen family from dear friends, I’ve had since grade school, to college friends to my run buds. These friends helped make 2017 a wonderful year while trying not to be too glued to my phone awaiting whatever the latest news alert would be.

 So, what did I accomplish on the running front this year?

  • 1,333 Total Miles Run
  • 1 Marathon – NYC
  • 3 Half Marathons – Tacoma City, Seawheeze, and paced Iron Horse
  • 1 12k – Bloomsday
  • 1 Ragnar NWP
  • 1 5k – Dawg Dash
  • And, most importantly, stayed mostly injury free!

Onto the 2018 goals, the biggest goal that I have is to find a job that I enjoy. I miss having challenging work where I get to learn and be engaged, let’s hope that’s just around the corner for me. From a political perspective, I plan on volunteering and getting out the vote for 2018 midterms. For running, I aim to run two marathons this year. I’ve already signed up for Eugene (April 29th) and began my 16-week training plan on Monday. My goal is to stay healthy, get stronger, and crush my sub 4-hour goal with a 3:45-3:50. I plan to run a fall marathon, as well, and will revisit that goal after Eugene. Additionally, I will continue with my PT exercises, rolling everything, strength training with some cross training, the goal is to run forever, right?

I’m excited for my 2018 year in running. I’m happy to be healthy and have the best run fam (BALG, Strangers, SGLRG) to share these miles and goals!

Race Recap: NYC Marathon 2017

I don’t even know where to start this race recap, but I think the overarching theme is gratitude. I’m beyond grateful to have made it to the start line of the NYC Marathon after two years of injuries, one deferral, and the trampolinjury. One year ago, I had just run on the AlterG for the first time — 2 miles at 70% of my body weight. To think just a year later, I would be running my second marathon is pretty incredible. The human body is amazing! I’m grateful to have had the resources to fully rehab my injury including weekly (twice weekly at the height of injury) PT with Dan at Forefront PT, monthly massages with Alexa, frequent visits to Dr. Curt at InHealth, and acupuncture with Dr. Perry for six months post-injury. And, maybe most importantly, I’m grateful for all my run buds and SGLRG who made training for this marathon pretty damn fun. I had so many wonderful runs with friends and the most memorable runs were probably the tempos. Thanks to Anzari & Erica for the CHWUW tempo love and Monday morning track at Garfield, Erin for Thursday tempos, JZ and Alex for those long WUW tempos, and even Loka who made a special tempo appearance and slowed it down to run easy after his 50k.

Race weekend. I had an 8am flight out of Seattle into Newark. All was going smoothly and I was in my ReachNow Ride (ReachNow with a driver) headed to the airport. I was going to take a Lyft Carpool, but it had doubled in price within the 5 minutes I had waited to book so decided to just use ReachNow Ride since I had a credit. This would turn out to be an incredibly important decision. It was 655am when it dawned on me that I had left my purse at home, we were at the Tukwila exit and approximately 5 minutes from the airport. Needless to say, I started freaking out knowing that I would likely miss my flight. I had the driver immediately turn around and head back into the city. There was traffic and we made it back to the hill at 725am. I ran in, grabbed my purse, and we were back on the road in minutes. My driver kindly asked if I minded if he sped. I was like please do, I made it to the airport at 746am, ran to security, thankful for TSA Pre-Check, and ran to the gate. I made it! 😅 I was not the last person to board, but one of the last. Phew. Nothing like a little travel stress to get you excited!

The flight. I was sat in the exit row and met Andrea & Kurt. Andrea was also running the marathon and we chatted about our training and the race. We both happened to also be eating superhero muffins — I should have saved mine to eat pre-race like Shalane and maybe I would have hit my goal (spoiler alert). Since it was snowing that morning and our flight actually didn’t take off until 940am (I didn’t even mind because I was so grateful to be on the plane), we got into Newark late. Andrea & Kurt had a car picking them up and decided to go straight to the expo due to the delay; they kindly offered me a ride. Runners are seriously the best! I met Kirstin, Shane, and Press at the expo and Shane and I took some photos in our shirts because everyone was doing it. I’ve never been to a race where this is more pre-race gear or people wearing their race shirt before the race then NYC.

Saturday morning. I ran a 2 mile shakeout with Izi and checked out the finish line. I wanted to be prepared for the slight hill into the finish. We also went to the NYRR Legends panel and got to see Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, Bill Rodgers, German Silva, and Ryan Hall. I absolutely adore Paula! The rest of the day, I lounged around eating carbs mainly in the form of NYC bagels. Mm!!!

Race day. A Goal: 3:50, B Goal: Sub 4, C Goal: have fun! I had the best night sleep before a big race ever. Daylight savings time ended and we gained an extra hour of sleep. I slept close to 11 hours, it helped that I had gotten approximately 4 hours of sleep the night before that. I wasn’t that nervous and was just ready to run. Shane and I left Chelsea at 650am for the first leg of our trip — Lyft to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. We arrived there with hundreds of our closest friends. We got on the ferry around 720am, arrived to Staten Island around 745am, and then stood in line waiting to get on the bus. We didn’t arrive to the start village till 850am, yup, a full 2 hours after starting our journey. I had on my throwaway pants and sweatshirt on and was carrying a blanket just in case. Shane and I bid adieu shortly after and I headed to my corral. I was in Orange – Wave 2 – A. This is the biggest race in the world with 51,307 participants starting the race. There are three colors by four waves. I was in orange and got to start on the Verrazano Bridge which was pretty cool. They let off cannons for each wave start and play ‘New York, New York’, not extra at all.

The start. Cortney was in my same wave/corral, I didn’t expect to see her, but within the first minute of running, I turned to my left and saw her. What luck! I wished her good luck and off she went. I used a conservative start, even effort pace band, and took the bridge easy and under control. It was gray and misty so there weren’t the best views, but I was finally running the NYC Marathon! Helicopters circled the bridge and there were just runners all around. Lots of folks were hopping on the divide in the middle of the bridge to take photos. I felt amazing for the first 10 miles! I thought my goals were in the bag! Miles 11-15, I thought, I have to work a bit, but this is attainable if not the A goal, the B goal. Then the Queensboro Bridge happened, I knew it was coming, I felt prepared for it having trained on all of Seattle’s hills, but it was long. I started slowing down, slower than my pace band had me at. I was ready to be done with the bridge, but never felt like it was too terrible. I headed down into Manhattan hoping to see Izi or Kirstin & Press. I didn’t spot them, but they did see me around 17.

Miles 16-26.2. What to say about miles 16-26.2? They were hard. I felt like my legs were so heavy and it was so hard to lift them. I tried really hard to pick up the pace to shake off the slower miles, but just could not seem to make a move. I continued to fuel and take in Gatorade. I even walked through a couple of water stops hoping to shake off the slower pace and get going. It didn’t work. I actually can’t put my finger on what went wrong. Was it just the difficulty of the course? Should I have fueled even more in those last 10 miles? Did I taper too much? I’m honestly not sure so if you have some ideas, please let me know. We ran up 1st which was a steady incline and into the Bronx. I was so happy to see the Bronx and then say good-bye to the Bronx. I was ready to be done. Right before 24, I got a boost. I saw Kirstin & Press which made me smile, and I saw a sign that said trampoline. My marathon delayed reaction was WTF, I hate trampolines then I realized the sign was for me and was like 😂. Izi made the sign, but Anzari came up with the concept. It definitely made me laugh and gave me a boost.

IMG_3385

The last 2 miles. The last 2 miles were long. How could they be so long after I had run 24 miles, but they were long. I just ran and ran, but felt like I was not moving and I wasn’t actually moving that fast. I was so glad that I had seen the finish the day prior so I knew it was just around the bend. I made sure to smile, not stop my watch, and celebrate my finish. My run buds were watching my finish and filmed me taking photos, no surprise there! I was done and so grateful — see gratitude. 4:03:01 unofficially which is a PR. When you only run 2 marathons, makes it easier to PR!

The spectators. Over 1 million people spectate this race. It’s so crazy. I have only done Chicago which also has a ton of spectators, but this was even more. There were places where people were 10-15 deep, and places we ran that the spectators felt like they were taking over the course. It was really cool to feel the energy of the city and see how the marathon was such a big deal. I want to spectate the race one day soon.

Final thoughts. I had a really strong training cycle. I felt ready to run the race and hit my goals. I didn’t hit my A or B goal, but did PR by almost 7 minutes. What can I say? I’m disappointed with my results because I have the nagging feeling I could have done better. I guess this is how the marathon gets you or running in general. I know I can have a better race so I entered the Berlin lottery that night! I’m also considering a spring marathon. Yes, runners be crazy. Overall, I’ve had a much better recovery than Chicago, I can tell I’m stronger than that cycle and my body bounced back more quickly post-race. 💪🏼 Now it’s time to stay healthy and avoid trampolines.

PS: This may be my longest post ever. Kudos if you got to the end, there will not be a test! 😝

Happy One Year Trampolinjury Anniversary + One Month

 

 

It’s been 13 months since my trampolinjury and three months since I blogged last. So what’s been going on?! (I’ll include a lot of photos to make this post a little more interesting.)

August 12th, I ran the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, which is put on by Lululemon. It was my first time and really fun. While I can’t do a full race recap because the memories are a little foggy, here are a few pertinent details. My run buds and I registered for the race back in November 2016 and you had to be ready with multiple devices to get your spot. People take their Lulu love very seriously and it was like getting a coveted concert ticket. I was excited to do the race as I heard the swag was pretty amazing plus a fun course and Vancouver! Big takeaways, stay closer to the Convention Center, everything Seawheeze originated there. Race was crowded along the sea wall so prepare for a little weaving. Overall it was a well organized race and the swag was great, but not as good as last year. You get a pair of shorts as part of the registration, which is awesome, they send you the shorts a few months prior to the race. This year’s pattern was really ugly — black and white abstract pattern featuring flowers, eyes, arms, and lips. It was strange to say the least. I sold my shorts on Poshmark and bought a pair I liked. At the finish, you get a cold wash cloth, brunch (which was super tasty), sunglasses, and Saje products. We also received a Lulu spike bag at the expo. It was an enjoyable race that I ran relatively easy since it was my fourth week of marathon training and my biggest mileage week since the previous year!

Speaking of marathon training, I’m now in week 13 of 16. How did that happen? I was pretty nervous starting training given my two years of dealing with high hamstring tendinosis on the left side (Aug 2015), ankle sprain (Feb 2016), trampolinjury / grade 2 ankle sprain (Sept 2016), and high hamstring tendonitis on my right side (Feb 2017). Yup, it’s been a fun-filled two years aka two years of PT. I am now someone who stretches approximately 3x a day and does PT exercises before EVERY run. I guess that probably makes me a better runner or rather a runner with better longevity??🤞🏼

Training has been going well and I’ve felt surprisingly good. I also traveled to Fiji and Sydney weeks 7 & 8 of training. In Fiji, I managed to get a good portion of my mileage in. Anzari and I ran a track workout next to an airstrip and a long run on the day of her wedding. I spent about four days in Sydney and ran all over the city, racking up close to 40 miles I was there. It was so awesome seeing the city that way and I did three of the top Strava runs.🙌🏼 My posterior tib and high hamstring has remained relatively happy. I’ve been getting ART, graston, and sports massage pretty regularly which I think has helped a lot. I’m running my last 20 miler on Saturday and then the taper begins week 14! Cannot wait!

Also, I’ve started to get nervous about the race as it’s just 25 days away! Ack, I both can’t wait and wish for my more time.

11 Month Trampolinjury Anniversary!

Here we are, 11 months post-trampolinjury! I cannot believe it’s been that long, but time really started speeding up once I was able to run again. Funny how that works. So here’s a quick recap and hopefully I’ll post again very soon with a Seawheeze recap since that race is on tomorrow! Goals!!


Ran my 5th consecutive Ragnar NWP and had a blast. Was in van 1 for the first time since my first year and it was amazing. Ran 11 miles overall and I was way less tired than my last few years of 20+ miles, go figure! 

I’m still in PT, yup, I’ve been in PT since October 2015 ever since my last attempt (2nd ever attempt) to train for a marathon. I have reduced to every other week and plan on reducing to monthly starting in September. Maybe eventually I’ll just go for a quarterly visit. I tell Dan all the time that he’s great and everything, but I really wish I saw him less.

I’m in week 4 of marathon training! I’m a bit astonished that I’m training and my number one goal is to get to the start line healthy. I’ve had a rough 2 years with injuries and I just want to run healthy again. I’m training for the NYC Marathon which I deferred last year so I’ve invested quite a lot in it monetarily already. I created my own training plan this time around, I figure I should put my RRCA Coaching Certificate to good use, but luckily enough had Erin and Erica’s plans to use as a base plus mixed in a little Hal Higdon and Hansen’s. The plan calls for 3 x 20 milers and I’m thinking that seems so insane since I only ended up running 1 x 18 miler when I trained for my one and only marathon in 2014 (Chicago). I ended up getting a bit of a calf strain towards the end of my cycle so I did a 16 miler + an hour on the bike to simulate tired legs. I’m hoping with my new found “love” of PT exercises, stretching, roll recovery, and all the recovery stuff I do on a daily basis that I will stay relatively healthy through this cycle. I’ve also added in track workouts and tempos, two things I haven’t done for over a year since my bout with high hamstring tendinosis on my left side and high hamstring tendonitis on my right side. Speaking of my ass, it’s doing much better, thank you! My left high hamstring feels great and my right is mostly cleared up. I’ll still feel it occasionally, but have been very pleased with how it’s been behaving with my 30+ mile weeks and re-introduction of speed workouts. It’s been a looong road to recovery.


Seattle Summer has been rad though the last week we’ve been visited by the smoke monster from the BC wildfires which has been a bummer and overall not great for breathing, running, and living. We did just break the for longest streak of dry days at 52 days though we did have to survive the rainiest October through April in the 122 years of record keeping. It’s been a year of extremes.




I’ve also been able to get out on a lot of hikes which has been amazing! We started the season off with Mailbox Peak Old Trail up and down which was a challenge, but made subsequent hikes like Mount Washington, Mount Dickerman, and Camp Muir not seem so bad!

Race Recap: Tacoma City Half Marathon 2017

img_1967.jpg

This is a much belated recap of the Tacoma City Half Marathon that I ran on April 30th. I had started a post a few days after the race, but couldn’t be bothered to finish it. My cycle was mediocre at best while still recovering from the trampolinjury, and having developed high hamstring tendinitis on my right side. If this sounds familiar, I suffered from high hamstring tendinosis on my left side summer/fall of 2015. This hamstring tendinosis was my previous worst injury sidelining me for 2 months. I came back in 2016 and felt even stronger by the Iron Horse Half Marathon only to trampolinjury. Womp womp.

Anyhow, this was my first race in Tacoma. It was a point to point course starting in Gig Harbor and finishing at Tacoma Art Museum. My original run bud and far away friend, David, was in town from Singapore and agreed to run with me as a fun catch up. Sadly, the day before he was on an easy Lake Union run and ended up straining his calf. He was a great run bud and still accompanied me to the start of the race and drove my car to the finish. It was the best! Also, my lovely run buds (Anzari, Erica, Erin, and Hannah) were running the marathon relay; they killed it by the way and came in first! It was fun to have them on course plus some other SGLRG folks on course cheering. Weather was beautiful, clear skies and sun. If anything it got a little warm at the end.

So, what was the course like? According to the website, it was a “fast new half marathon course.” I’d like to dispute this statement by the feel of the course since it seemed we ran up all the on-ramps in Tacoma. All of them. According to my Garmin the gain was 557ft which precludes it from being flat to me. Maybe 300ft gain would have felt flat. We started at Gig Harbor Airport (who knew GH had an airport) and ran about 1.5 miles or so before getting on the Narrows Bridge. I love running on bridges, and it was absolutely gorgeous. Still, bridges are always hills so we climbed a bit then started coming down only to be confronted with a big hill once we got off the bridge. Erin had warned me about the hill after the bridge so I was ready for it. Still, it felt tough. This part of the course wove through parks and then through some residential areas. I saw friends at mile 7 on a downhill portion which was such a boost and my fastest split of the race. Ran through more residential and finally at mile 7.5 or so we hit Ruston Way. This part was on a nice pedestrian path along the Sound so was pretty, but boring. There were some great volunteers who were cheering which was super nice. I wasn’t feeling great as my hamstring had been pretty cranky the week preceding the race, and just was tight the entire run. I couldn’t seem to pick up the pace and sort of just decided to just run it more like a training run. I was so excited to be close to mile 13 only to realize we had another overpass to go up to get to the finish. This overpass came at mile 12.9 and was so annoying. I really wanted to walk it, but decided it would just prolong this race so just pushed through. I felt so bad for the marathoners who had to finish up this at mile 26.1, oofta. It was great to finish and I spotted David cheering for me.

18209332_10158637938965611_3693820780142794795_o.jpg

Overall, I just didn’t feel that strong in this race. My time was about 11 minutes slower than my PR last year at Iron Horse. Still, I was glad to have been able to run it especially after building back up from less than nothing with my ankle. It was a fun race from the perspective of having a lot of run buds out on course cheering plus meeting up with everyone at the end. Still, the course wasn’t that great and I would definitely not consider it a fast course. I definitely wouldn’t run this again, and probably wouldn’t be that likely to recommend it.

PS: It’s been 9 months since the trampolinjury! I’ve dropped down to every other week PT appointments and my hamstring has been feeling pretty good. Three weeks ago, I finally found the spot to release the tightness in my hamstring muscle belly. It was a revelation! I tried all the tools (Trigger Point Foam Roller, Roll Recovery, The Stick) I owned before finally using The Orb which worked! Highly recommend for tight hamstrings!!

Splits

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 4.22.29 PM.png

Happy Six Month Trampolinjury!

Today marks my six month anniversary since the trampoline incident. Time is a funny thing. The first two months went excruciatingly slow with limited mobility and not much physical activity besides my pool walking. I sort of fell off blogging with the New Year and the new job. I ran my first consecutive 3 miles on New Year’s Eve, and have slowly built up to my long run mileage of 8 miles. Actually, this Sunday, I’ll be running 9 miles! I can’t wait to hit double digits. Time has definitely started moving more quickly!

Recovery and rehab is still coming along. My ankle finally stopped swelling at five months just in time for me to roll my right ankle ever so slightly about three weeks ago on an early morning run. I know, no one has built me a bubble yet. I’ve had some light swelling associated with it since then, but hoping it goes away soon. Last week, I went to to Whistler and snowboarded two days. This was after a five year hiatus! It was like a riding a bike, and I managed to avoid any injuries. Snowboarding did bug my posterior tib so took it pretty easy on my second day. Also, thanks to Facebook memories, I was reminded that I had tendonitis in my right posterior tib. My doctor had asked if I had injured it prior because my MRI showed some thickening in that tendon. I had totally forgotten as it was just a small injury that didn’t take me out for more than a few weeks.

My race calendar is coming together and I’m cautiously optimistic. I deferred the NYC Marathon last year so I signed up this year (just had to pay again). I plan to run the Tacoma City Half Marathon at the end of April, Bloomsday as an easy run the weekend after, Ragnar NWP in July, Seawheeze in August, and NYC Marathon in November.

Now just to get rid of the tightness in my right high hamstring. I ended up developing a similar issue in my right leg as my left leg. My PT says it’s pretty common to develop it on the other side, but it still baffles me since it came on as soon as I started running. I had taken an almost three month break from running with the ankle sprain so have no idea how it could become so irritated.