Running Behind

summer-runningI have been a total flake with my blog lately! My running has taken off and I’ve been loving every minute. I finished my first race back from my injury with a 10.35 minute pace. Not bad! Now I just need to work on improving my time and form. My next race is a 10k on September 29 that supports a local cancer center. After that I’ll have a 5k a month until February when I run my favorite Superbowl Sunday 4-miler. Fun!

It’s beyond amazing to be able to run again. And it inspires me too. Every hill and difficult mile I run, I remind myself how lucky I am to be running again and it pushes me to finish strong.

Firecrack 4-miler

firecracker4

I’m so EXCITED! I officially signed up for my first race after my injury. It’s the Firecracker 4-miler in Cranford, NJ. Guaranteed to be, well, a blast! :)

The race boast tree lined streets and bike trails complete with water stations and a USATF certified course. The festivities don’t stop with the end of the race though. There’s an after party with refreshments, balloons, popcorn, music and face painting. A perfect gathering for the whole family! Best part? Entrants not only get a commemorative race t-shirt, but a Firecracker pint glass as well!  I can’t wait! :)

Happy running, my friends! :D

Are You a Fan of Fad Runs?

Color_RunThere is a new breed of racing running rampant around the country. Tough Mudder, Spartan, Mud Run, Zombie Chases, Color Runs, and now Electric Runs (think neon lights and glow sticks). Bored with running a 5k? Not interested in a PR? Want to entice your non-running buddies into joining your uber-fun relay team? Don’t worry! There’s a whole slew of new, exciting races just for you! At least that’s what the organizers of these new races would like you to think and get you to sign up for these runs. More expensive than their same-distance counterparts, these new fun runs are filled with anything and everything that might keep your attention. And if your interested in obstacles and entertainment more than running, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’m personally not a fan of these new fad runs. I like to run in races. That’s it. Run. No bells and whistles, no undead hunting me down, no sprays of color exploding in my face. I’m glad that these runs get people out and active. What I don’t like is the danger element involved in the obstacle-centered ones like the mud runs and their counterparts. While the risk of injury is minimum, it’s still a definite factor. More and more reports are coming out of people being seriously hurt or killed during these runs. The most recent report was of a man who drowned in one of the obstacles at a Tough Mudder in West Virginia in April. It sounds like negligence on the part of both the race organizers and those they hired to man the stations, but here’s the article so you can judge for yourselves. On a more personal note, a friend of mine recently signed up for a run that was supposed to be just a fun run with some friends. She returned with her elbows and knees bruised and bloodied due to the army crawls under low hanging wires. Problem was the ground was littered with small stones that dug into her arms and legs as she maneuvered through the obstacles. She didn’t want to complete some obstacles but because of the mass of people pushing around and behind her felt forced to do so.

While I don’t think all these new fad runs are dangerous, I think that because of their popularity race officials should be more aware of the potential injuries or dangerous situations that might occur and prepare accordingly. And if you love these runs – great! It’s always fun to find new, exciting challenges that get you and your friends running.

Happy running! :)

Let’s Get This Party Started!

happy_runnerFinally. Finally! I’m back to running. Hooray! It’s been a long road and I still have a ways to go, but I’m happy to say that I’m once again lacing up my Nikes and hitting the pavement. :D

Happy running, my friends! :)

The Power of Positive Thinking

Positive-ThinkingToday will be my first day “back in the saddle.” Or, rather, back on the Pre-Cor. Although I’m itching to run, I’m restraining myself for the sake of healing. Tonight I’m going to lace up my sneaks, drive to the gym through the buckets of rain that have descended on Central Jersey, and do cardio for the first time in over a month. Yikes! I’ll start with some strength training to warm my muscles up, followed by some light stretching, then on to the Pre-Cor.

I’ve been good about applying heat to my injury a couple times a day for 15-20 minutes each time. My plan is to do cardio for only 10-15 minutes at a snail’s pace. I’ll stretch again after my cardio, paying special attention to my hip/groin, then ice when I get home. The hardest part will be not pushing myself. It’s really hard for me not to feel like a failure if I’m not sweaty and (happily) spent after any cardio. I need to keep in mind that my goal is to run consistently again and whenever I want to. This won’t happen if I push myself too early and set myself back thus prolonging my recovery time even more than I have already.

I did notice that before I was ordered to rest for a few weeks by my doctor, any strength training I did, especially for my legs, seemed to help ease the strain on my injury. I’ll focus again on building up a strong core, glutes, and legs in hopes that my propensity for injury will lessen.

This all said, I believe that a key factor in my recovery is my mental state. For months now I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to recovery and get back to running. Frustrated at the lack of results, I’ve noticed that I get down on myself for not being successful. Rather than focus on what I can do, I’ve focused on what I can’t. Instead of celebrating small victories, I get disappointed at what I see as failures. I know that positive thinking is a HUGE part of healing and succeeding. I need to work on looking at what is good and using more positive, affirming thoughts. If I don’t believe I can get better, then I won’t. Runner’s World recently had a great article on how to change the way you think in order to become a stronger runner. As any runner knows, it’s one thing to be in shape physically and a whole other thing to be in shape mentally.

My goal is to not only run again, but facilitate my recovery through positive thinking. Happy running! :)

Getting Results

splitinroadMonday I had my follow up with my ortho doc to discuss the results of my MRI. The MRI itself was uneventful. Not as scary as I thought it was going to be which was a relief. It took about 25 minutes. My head wasn’t completely inside the tube since the scan was of my pelvic area, so I didn’t feel claustrophobic at all.

The doctor spent a half hour basically telling me that the MRI results were inconclusive. The good news is there were no apparent tears or other damage. The bad news is the doctor wasn’t really able to point me in the right direction. His advice? Rest. Apply heat. See him in 6 weeks.

Awesome.

After my visit with him, I headed straight over to my chiropractor to get a much needed adjustment. I love my chiropractor as well as getting regular adjustments. For those of you who don’t see one, I highly recommend it. You don’t realize how out of whack your body gets until someone puts you back in place. I always feel amazing whenever I leave.

When I saw her I mentioned my persistent discomfort and what the ortho doc had told me. After manipulating my leg through a few different stretches, she said she didn’t think rest would help because I’ve been resting and haven’t seen a marked improvement. She recommended that I see a physical therapist who also is an ortho guy who specializes in sports medicine. Her daughter saw this guy and it really helped. Her conclusion? Scar tissue build up. See a PT. Work it out don’t rest it.

Today I saw the PT. He was a really nice guy who talked to me for a while about the pain, then put me through a series of intensive stretches. Like many runners, I’m very inflexible, so it hurt! His theory is that my pelvis is out of line which in turn pulls my muscles out of line, puts strains on my ligaments and causes pain as I do cardio or other specific strengthening exercises. He worked for a while on pulling, pushing and moving my leg to try and get any parts that may have shifted back into place. He left me with this advice: Do hip flexor exercises, start back with light cardio and strength training, and come back to see him in a week.

Three “experts,” three different ideas of where I should go from here. So where do I go? What can I do to be smart and get back to running again? Here’s what I’m going to do: Light cardio, strength training, stretching, ice and heat. My main problem is that I get so excited to workout that I do too much too fast and end up worse than when I began. So this time I’m going to work at being smart, starting slow and stopping before the pain starts rather than when it starts.

Wish me luck! :D

Next Step to Recovery

HealingDespite how difficult it is, I’m continuing to rest and take it easy while I figure out what’s going on with my injured hip. I have an MRI scheduled for Saturday then a follow-up with my sports medicine doc the following week. I’m a little nervous as I’ve never had an MRI before. From what I understand, you lay on a board that then slides into a long metal tube. There are closed MRIs and open MRIs when the tube is above and below you, but open on the sides. I’m having a closed MRI because my doctor says they’re more accurate. Once inside the tube, you lay there for about 45 minutes while they scan whichever area needs scanning.

I’m going to bring a PlayAway, a small portable device that contains one book and is about the size of a pack of gum, to listen to while I’m getting scanned if I’m allowed to. I borrowed The Hunchback of Notre Dame from the library and have been listening to it whenever I get a chance. Since it’s over 14 hours, it’s taking me a while!

Here’s hoping it all goes well and that the MRI shows what’s going on. I’m excited and nervous about what they will find as it will make it more real but then I can hopefully figure out a plan of action to work toward my recovery.

 

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