Monday, June 28, 2010

Injury Update: Patience Needed, but Lacking!

I didn't run the 5K on Saturday for fear of further aggravating my calf strain. It was only $15 out the window. Maybe the shirt wasn't that cute anyway!

I ran 2 minutes/walked 2 minutes for 5 miles instead. I stretched a couple of times during it and the calf felt fine. I rested on Sunday. When I got up this morning for a short, slow 2-miler, I realized it hurt again. Actually, my whole right leg hurt as I ran the first mile. It was better on the 2nd one.

I saw a different physical therapist at my appointment a couple hours after running today. She said I must have compensated somehow to take weight/strain off that calf, resulting in the whole leg not feeling right. She doesn't want me to run again until I can run pain free.

It's all just so FRUSTRATING. I am craving a good run, and I just want this injury to be OVER. For something that brings such stress relief and happiness to be taken away is taking its toll on me not just physically, but emotionally. After the appointment where I was told not to run (indefinitely), I just felt depressed. I wanted to do two things: go to sleep and eat.

I'm going to go for a swim tomorrow or maybe get on the elliptical if that doesn't hurt. I need to burn some calories and some stress! I know running makes me a more positive, more patient mom, and not being able to do it is really, really hard. :-(

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nothing Like a Little Break....

I have had a much-needed physical-therapist ordered rest due to a calf strain (level 1--not too bad). It was caused by too much speed work and hill training. I took 4 days off from running completely, then have been allowed to run gently 1-2 miles or less for the last 5 days. That's basically a 9-day break. After such a break, I feel reenergized with a spring in my step. I feel all this energy bouncing around inside of me. I've had good sweat or two during the break from an extended session of power walking, weights, and cycling (and even endorphins!), but I haven't felt that GOOD TIRED from a long or fast run. And I miss it.

Thus, I have a dilemma. My PT said last week that I should be ready for a 5K this weekend that I'd preregistered for. I'm just concerned that a hard 3.1 miles will set me back. My goal for this summer was to focus on short races and get faster. This is the last 5K I'll be able to do. My Saturday morning job prohibits any others. I've never had such a long break--I might actually PR this one! (If the 9-days off didn't detract from all that speed work.) Or, I may re-injure the calf. The "safe" thing to do would be to run the 3.1 miles not at full effort. What self control that would take! And kind of a waste of time, really. (I have to drive almost an hour to the race.)

I could just do a long, slow run very gently tomorrow--just 6 or 8 miles to get back into the distance game. My running group is going to my favorite trail.

What to do, what to do???

Friday, June 11, 2010

A God Thing

For the past three years, running has brought such joy to my life. This month is my 3rd runniversary. I don't know the exact day I started, but I remember it was mid-June on a treadmill at the Y, and I only made it 1/4 of a mile. My 3rd child had just turned one, and I was in a funk. I felt a little lost and purposeless. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but I craved adventure, excitement, and something just for me. Running fit the bill.

Early on, I almost felt guilty about the passion I had for running. Did I have that same passion for God? For serving others?

For two years, I talked to anyone and everyone about running, read everything I could get my hands on, and gave advice both solicited and unsolicited. A year ago in July, I took the step of gaining my Road Runner's Clubs of America coaching certification and immediately started a job at the YMCA training a half-marathon group of beginners.

For me, it was life-changing. I felt like I mattered to someone outside these four walls. I put my teaching past to good use. But the most important thing for me is that running became like a little ministry for me. I was coach/encourager. I remember thinking, "I wonder if God can use my running in some way?" Because if running is going to be THIS BIG a part of my life, I want God to be in it, too. I started leading the group in a short prayer before runs (for protection, for health, giving thanks). Several of us openly talked about our church, and a few of the runners even visited a few times.

Recently, my running club started a training group for an upcoming half-marathon (Women's Half on Sept. 25). We quickly had 35 people sign up to train together. I'm supposed to be assistant coach and the president of the club is head coach. I've helped get it off the ground, but now another opportunity has presented itself. I think this one might be a God thing.

The YMCA has a program called RESTORE, a Christ-centered ministry for people who are broken, and it physically, mentally, and spiritually rebuilds them with a combination of Bible study, group therapy, and exercise. Our local Y, my employer, just got the program. It's for any person, regardless of ability to pay, who is struggling with any issue---food addiction, depression, drug abuse, lack of direction-- whatever. It's a great cause.

The God-part is that I've been asked to lead a charity team of walkers and runners to train for that very same half-marathon. Each person is asked to raise at least $250 for the RESTORE ministry, kind of like Team in Training, only on a much smaller scale. Could the God/running connection be any clearer than this? We have to recruit at least 10 for the team or it won't happen. (We have one so far!) I think it will be neat to work with runners and walkers who want to both change their lives/health by running or walking a half-marathon and help others at the same time.

I'm so scared of overcommitting myself, but I think I can make all of this work. I'm hoping the two training groups can meet at the same time in the same location. There is safety in numbers!I can't see any reason why the fund-raising group can't share the road (and the coach) with the running club. And besides, it's my job to work with the YMCA group.

Maybe after the race on Sept. 25, I'll take a little break from coaching. Whew! I'm trying not to get overwhelmed, but I have been praying for God to use my running in some way. I guess He is.

The only part I'm sad about is the possibility of missing the first two soccer games for my girls. I'm hoping the schedule will work out that they have afternoon games in early September!

Anatomy of an Injury

I have been struggling with this calf/shin/Achilles/IT Band thing. I don't even know what to call it. Maybe the "entire-right-side-of-my-body" thing. My right leg is .... unhappy. Some days my calf hurts. Some days my shin hurts. Some days my Achilles is tight. Some days what I think might be my IT band is tight.

I was reading in one of my running books about injuries. The first question is --- Have you been doing anything different? Well, yeah, pretty much EVERYTHING. (Therein lies the mistake, I'm guessing.)

1. I changed shoes. I've been running in lighter weight Nikes instead of the old Asics Kayanos.
2. I changed the way I train in a BIG way. I started doing strides at faster than 1-mile pace (just for about 45 seconds at a time). I added tempo runs. I added short hill sprints and hill repeats. (Not all at once, of course, but speed work one or two times a week.)
3. I started lower body strength training 1 to 2 times a week. Lots of squats and lunges will hopefully give me more strength on the abovementioned hills.

All of this together probably caused the issues. I should have eased into the shoes--alternating with the older, more supportive ones. I should have added in a speed session every other week instead of every week and sometimes twice a week to allow my body to adapt.

What I have been doing right is only running about 3 days per week--down from 4 or 5 during marathon/half-marathon training. I've been cross training once a week. And finally, I've been LISTENING TO MY BODY. I met my running group last Saturday morning and walked 5K while everyone else ran. I realized on Friday my shin hurt to run, but walking was ok. I will say it is SCARY for a runner to not be able to run 3 steps. That has only happened once before when I had an inflamed tendon on the top of my foot.

This was week one of the 16-week training for the Women's Running Magazine Half in Nashville. I didn't get in all my miles or speed work from my Runners World training plan, but I am feeling better, and that's the most important thing!

It's funny, as a running coach, I am my own GUINEA PIG! I test what works and what doesn't so I don't inflict it on others! :-)