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Posts tagged ‘running injury’

A Day in the Life of a Runner Who Can’t Walk

It never dawned on me just how awesome it is to be able to walk and get around on my own two feet. Since that has now been taken away from me, I can’t believe how much I didn’t appreciate it up until now. Walking, running, jumping, climbing stairs – these are all gifts not be taken advantage of. I miss walking. I miss being able to do things for myself.

But I won’t let that get me down! There is still so much to do with limited mobility and sharp shooting pain with every wrong move. After four days at home, I’ve developed a routine to be as productive as possible.  I’d like to share it with you…

It takes me about 5 minutes to get out of bed. I have to be careful with moving and twisting. One wrong move and the pain will keep me in bed for another five minutes. Then I hobble to the bathroom on my crutches, trying to be alert enough as to not face plant on the floor. (This is very scary when I have to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night.) Then I sit in the kitchen reading the news, checking email, and all the fun social media things. It keeps my mind off the pain for a little while.
Next, Mario joins me in the kitchen and is kind enough to make me breakfast, usually a green smoothie or eggs. One thing I’ve learned throughout this experience is you have to let go of having things done your way. When someone else is having to cook, clean, and take care of you, you’ll gladly drink a bitter tasting smoothie. You know it was made with love. After breakfast, it’s time for an arm workout with some upbeat music. I have mastered the art of shoulder presses, chest presses, and bicep curls while sitting on an ottoman. I’m still in the process of working on my ab routine. The cushiony surface makes it a little difficult, but I think I should have something by the end of next week. Perhaps I should make a YouTube video about how to workout when you can’t walk.

Now that I’m feeling happy with a mini-workout and motivated by some good music, it’s time for a podcast. My current favorites are the Rich Roll Podcast, the Good Life Project, and The Bulletproof Executive. One hour later, and I’ve briefly forgotten about my pain, laughed a little, and learned a thing or two about life. Yesterday I learned about a man who spent two years living completely by the Bible. The man actually stoned an adulterer (but only with little pebbles). That same man also spent one month practicing radical honesty. That’s when you say exactly what your brain is thinking. When some of his wife’s old college friends suggested they hang out, he had to tell them no. Even though you seem like nice people, I really don’t want to see you again. I don’t even get to seem my friends enough so I do anticipate us hanging out in the future. That made my morning. Podcasts really are amazing.

By this time, it’s around 9:00am and time for some meditation. My dear friend Nikki gave me some beautiful mala beads and I always look forward to holding them during my practice. When I meditate, I prefer to be sitting on the floor but due to my current condition, the couch works just fine. Sometimes I find the comfy couch causes me to doze off for a moment but I always come back to the present. That’s the point of meditation. 🙂

Meditation is always followed by some work things on the computer, a hobble around the house, and complaint or two about how damn uncomfortable crutches are. Seriously? Why can’t the arm part be just a little more comfortable?

Now it’s time for lunch and because Mario has left to go to work, this is a very tricky task for me. Getting things from the refrigerator to the counter is such an arduous task that once I get everything out, I’m more than happy to let it all sit there and spoil because it’s so difficult to put it back. But nonetheless, I gather my strength and put it back. By now, I’m tired of sitting in the kitchen and want to move to the couch. The problem with this is that my computer is at point A and I need to get it to point B. Wednesday I found a really big shoulder bag that now serves as my mode of transpiration for all objects. I pack my computer in the bag and head over to the couch. (As I’m writing this I’m wondering why I don’t use it in the kitchen as well. Duh!)

It takes me about five minutes to sit down on the couch. From sitting down to putting my leg up and finding a comfortable position, it’s not an easy task. I spend the next few hours reading, working, looking for birthday gift ideas (I’ll be 31 on Friday!!!), and texting back and forth to my mom. Other than the documentary I watched on Usain Bolt Wednesday afternoon, I never turn on the television. I’m actually pretty proud of this because it’s so easy to get sucked into a tv program.

After all of this, I need a break from the computer. So I read. Thankfully, before my injury I checked out a few books from the library. I just finished reading a few essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Alchemist, and have now started Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. I loved The Alchemist. I think I could read that book 10 more times and never get tired of it.

By now it’s time for Mario to get home so I try and clean up any mess I’ve made. In addition to having to make my breakfast, Mario now has to make my dinner. I’m on this thing where I’m eating as many healthy, superfoods as possible to speed up the recovery process. Dinner lately has consisted of a superfood salad from Whole Foods and sardines. Yes, sardines. Never before this week have I eaten those fishy little creatures and I have yet to acquire a taste for them. However, in the name of recovery, I will do what I must. Plus mustard and lemon juice make the taste a little more bearable.

While Mario cleans up the kitchen, I tell him stories about my day. Anything fun I learned from a podcast or perhaps a lesson from whatever I’m reading. Then it’s time for me to continue working on an ebook I’m writing and then before I know it, it’s time for bed. I end my day just as I started… taking 5 minutes to get into bed and praying that I don’t hear another snap in my hip.

All in all, I’d say the recovery process is going well. I’m learning a lot, reading a lot, getting in little workouts, meditating more, and learning some hard lessons. Patience, impermanence, suffering, all sorts of fun things. On top of that, I’ve learned a bit about those supplements that can help with the healing process. Tomorrow my bovine colostrumCapraFlex Pro, and Master Amino Pattern arrive in the mail. Wednesday I have an appointment with an orthopedist and Friday is my birthday. Maybe I’ll skip the sardines for dinner that night and have a turkey burger.

Oh to be able to walk again….

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

PS: An ER doctor is the one who told me I had a fracture. Personally, I think he is incorrect. I think I have torn ligaments in my hip and that’s what those snapping noises were. Although I think I would prefer a fracture because apparently they are easier to heal. Maybe hip arthroscopy surgery is in my future??

Posture

Back in May, I turned the ripe running age of 30. For my birthday, Mario gave me a beautiful necklace. That necklace has since done more to tell me about my posture than any doctor or yoga class ever has.

Maybe a few of these pictures will explain:

Birthday Festivities

Birthday Festivities

 

Celebrating my grandmother's 91st birthday

Celebrating my grandmother’s 91st birthday

 

With two of my fabulous students

With two of my fabulous students

 

My necklace is always to my right side. Mario was the first person to point it out to me and I told him it was gravity. He reminded me gravity pulled straight down. I added “and slightly to the right.”

Why does this even matter? Well what this little necklace tells me is that something is going on with the right side of my body. And as luck would have it, my right ankle has started to bother me. From my past medical experience, I say it’s tendonitis. At first I was pretty distraught and ran through the pain. Then I decided that was a bad idea.

After spending some time thinking about my body mechanics and my necklace always pulling to the right, I decided something was “wrong” with the right side of my body. My ankle was bothering me because my  hip was off, not because it was off. Therefore, I have been doing more painful hip opening exercises than I care to think about. In particular, staying in pigeon pose for a really, really long time. The end result: a straight necklace, a hip that feels like it’s moving correctly, and an ankle that is almost pain free. Two more days off and I think I’ll be ready for my 17 miler on Saturday.

My point is this… runners get injured. In my case, they get injured a lot. However, from my experience, I would say that the pain  in one area of the body is because another area in the body is off. Our bodies are incredibly amazing and if we listen closely enough, we might just understand what’s going on. I’m pretty sure Mario didn’t realize his gift was going to be so functional.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

Running Update: Running has been going okay this past week and a half. I took one day off last week and still got in my 15 miler on Saturday. But thanks to the heat, humidity, and lack on fluids, I was pretty sure I might pass out on the side of the trail. This week is my low mileage week, thankfully. I ran 8 on Monday but have been cross-training  the other days. I’ve decided to take today and tomorrow off, to give my ankle enough time to fully heal. Thankfully I still have a little over two months to go before Chicago and I feel that I have a very solid base and fitness level.

Calf Tightness

Hello blogosphere! After one week of no blogging whatsoever, I can now say that I miss it and am ready to contribute my two cents once again.

Running has been going okay. Not the amazing, pain free running I woud like but I’m still doing my workouts. Tuesday was my first track workout since January and thankfully, I was able to hit my goal times (actually a little faster), with no problem. However, my coach was there and he was quick to point out some things going on with my form that need a little work. For example, too much twisting in the hips and a left arm that barely moves and is held up significantly higher than my right. I’m working on it.

Thursday was an easy 5 miler out at the greenway and I couldn’t believe how tight my calves were. They hurt some kind of bad and thoughts of being sidelined for a month due to injury started to enter my mind. What the heck am I doing wrong? When I got back to my car, I decided to put on my Minimus shoes for a short jog just to see if they felt any better. Immediately the pain went away and my form corrected itself. I ran another mile pain free.

So my question is, why are my calves so darn tight?

I carry around a lot of tension in my body when I run. Because I’m always thinking about form, I don’t just let things happen. Foot strike and arm movement are the two main things always on my mind.

When running, the calf muscles are used to stabilize the ankle and absorb the impact during push off and landing. For some reason, when I get more miles on my legs, I start shifting my foot strike to my toes. I can feel it now and I could feel it back in January. I imagine that running on your toes requires a lot of extra effort from the calf muscles because the ankle and foot really have to be stabilized.

I read this from TheHungryRunner and thought this sounded about right for me:

Interestingly, calf tightness can also be symptomatic of weakness elsewhere in the leg.  If your glutes and/or hamstrings are weak, your calves will often try to make up for that weakness, which means the muscle gets overused, which in turn exacerbates calf tightness.  In that same vein, calf tension is rarely experienced in isolation; rather, if there is tightness in the calf muscles, there is also a good chance you are tight in your hamstrings as well, due to the synergistic nature of the hamstrings and calves for much of our daily movements.

Tomorrow I’ll spend time really focusing on my glutes, quads, and hamstrings. I’ve also been using the Rumble Roller (ouch!!!) to work on releasing some of these knots. And the final thing that I am going to do to work on my calf tightness is…. meditation. Perhaps that sounds a little odd but I have got to release this tension that I carry around. I think meditation is a great way to do this.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: Today I did 12 miles in my Minimus. It was a little tough because I was up too late last night and only ate a small salad for dinner. On the plus side, however, my calves didn’t bother me one bit and my form felt a lot better in the Minimus. Maybe it is also important for me to alternate shoes more consistently. Stats are here.

Strengthening the Hip Flexors

About a month ago I posted about the importance of hip flexors. I found some good stretches but right now, as I’m recovering from my injury, I want to know how to strengthen the hip flexor. There is a lot of great information out there about stretching and strengthening the hip flexor (which is super important for us runners). Here are a few of the strength training exercises I am going into start incorporating into my routine:

I think four is a good number to start with right now. If I overwhelm myself, I know I won’t do it. Does anybody have any other hip flexor exercises they recommend? I’ll take all the advice I can get!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Rest and Injuries

There are many reasons why I don’t like going to the doctor about a running injury. But the main one is because the typical recommendation is restRest? Mmmm… not going to happen. I’ll take a break from running but I can’t just sit around with ice on my hip.

Ryan Hall did an interview discussing life after his DNF at the Olympics. He dropped out due to tendonitis and a hamstring injury, but within 3 weeks, he was back to normal. He didn’t follow the take some time off and this will heal itself approach. He focused primarily on strength training and his tendonitis went away. Check out what he had to say about the importance of strength training and injuries:

Ryan Hall, Life after the Olympics

Ryan Hall, Life after the Olympics

I always notice that when I suffer an injury, I always feel stronger when I return back to running. It’s because I spend all the extra time focusing on strength. That really needs to become a non-negotiable part of my training.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

The Psoas

Today, using my expert medical training, I determined what has been plaguing me and causing my injuries. In my expert opinion, it’s a very tight psoas muscle (pronounced so-aZ).

After my workout at the gym, I came home and googled all the words I could think of describing my pain. That brought me to this article, a description of the psoas and muscle pain. I felt like every section in the article described exactly what I am feeling. Remind me why I spent two hours at the doctor on Wednesday? Read more

A Breakthrough

Yesterday my very wise G+ friend told me that perhaps one day I’ll look back at this race as my “breakthrough moment.” According to Google, the definition of breakthrough is “a significant and dramatic overcoming of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.” In my heart and in my mind,  I think my very wise G+ friend is right.

My running is cyclical. Run a lot. Get injured. Bike a lot. Forgive me when I say I am fed up with this sh*t. Why can’t I just be consistent? I learned two very important things about myself this past training season. One, I learned how much I really do love running. It’s not something I do just so I can eat my turkey burger. I really do love it and I am completely addicted. The second thing I learned about myself is I am fast and I can be much faster. I know the runner I am and I know the runner I can be. I believe my goals are well within reach and one day I will surpass them.

As I’m dealing with this injury, I’m no longer mad and I’m no longer sad. Now I’m just determined. I realize that I may not be running for a month, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it because I want this time to really address my problems. I am reevaluating what I do, how I excel, and what my body needs that I’m not giving it. Maybe 50 miles a week is too much for me and I need to substitute a workout with cross training and strength training. Maybe my easy runs need to be about a minute slower. Or perhaps I need to do running drills every other day. I don’t know but I look at this as a complete breakdown and a chance to build myself back up. I’m not worried about losing fitness. I’m not worried about my next race. Right now, I really don’t care about those things. I care about realizing my full potential and giving my body what it needs in order to excel. I care about finding myself in this running world. I care about completing the process.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I’m walking much better today. I went to the doctor and it went just as I expected. It could be this or it could be that. Come to PT twice a week and let’s see how it goes. I think I now remember why I never go to doctors.

And check out one of my race day photos:

I never take good racing pictures

I never take good racing pictures

Benefits of Injury

As a hurting runner, it’s hard to believe that I would actually consider the idea that there are benefits to being injured. Injuries suck. Period. However, I’m finally starting to see a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. It finally came to me this afternoon.

When I started training at the end of November for my race this weekend, my running life was great. I didn’t hurt. I felt light on my feet. My running form felt perfect and I started to question why I ever got injured in the first place. I am such a good runner. I can do this seven days a week. And I did. December was my best running month ever.

But the miles add up. That slightly weaker left side gets weaker. And those slightly tight glutes get tighter. The slanted sidewalk seems to get even more slanted and what started as a slight ache, becomes a serious problem. I knew it was coming but I thought one more long run would be okay. It wasn’t. Read more

Injury

There is little to comfort me during my time as an injured runner. I can’t eat sweet potato fries because I feel guilty and I can’t enjoy my Saturday turkey burger because I don’t feel like I deserve it. I really do struggle.

However, my RC did offer me some words of comfort earlier this week. I asked him why couldn’t I be one of those people who runs all the time and never gets injured? Why can’t I be so lucky? His response to me: Every runner gets injured. Every runner pushes him or herself and at some point, it’s just a little too far.

There is a very thin line between just right and just a little too much. As you try to discover who you are as a runner, you are going to cross over it. I started thinking about it and I realized, all of those people who I think can run all the time, they get injured too. A few bloggers I follow who run 80+ miles a week have their own set of injuries. A runner friend from back home who was running every day for who knows how long, he gets injured. And I’m pretty sure Ryan Hall dropped out of the Olympic Marathon because he was injured.

Bottom line: we are all human, life happens, and let’s not forget why we started this in the first place. Life can’t always he hundreds of happy miles.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: I was debating on going out today but my hip joint hurts and I’ve been sneezing like a crazy person. I’ll enjoy my glass of wine with Mario instead. 🙂

 

Scoliosis and Running

Three times in the past two months I have been asked “Do you have a mild form of scoliosis?”.  My initial thought was oh no! Can I run with scoliosis? Well, I think so…

Jim Thomas, Livestrong

According to psychotherapist Li Feng Tian in the “Musculoskeletan Consumer Review,” “One can usually participate in any type of exercises with scoliosis.” If you have scoliosis, posture and muscle changes caused by the condition may restrict your movements to some extent. In rare cases, your endurance may be affected by reduced lung capacity. But Tian says curvature of the spine won’t be worsened by exercise. And if running or jogging bothers you, back off for a few days. If it still bothers you, a muscle imbalance might have been aggravated, and it may be time to check in with a physical therapist.

I definitely favor one side over the other and often times feel I am curved a little more to the left.  Are there any other runners out there with scoliosis? How do you handle.  For me, I know I need to continue to focus on strengthening my right side. But what are my other options?

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie