Category Archives: Injuries

Injury Free + Back to Training

I’m finally injury free!  While I never took any total time off, I did back down significantly from hard workouts and specific exercises.  Last week I incorporated some of the things I had been avoiding back into my routine with success.  My glute wasn’t extra sore, my gait was totally normal and everything felt good.

My transition back into real training started Monday with an OK Murph.  For those not familiar it’s a Memorial Day tradition performed in honor of Lt Michael Murphy that includes a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and a final one mile run.  Wanting to save my energy for the challenging workout I failed to warm up as much as I should have.  My glute gave me some trouble through the first mile but settled in with the squats.  The second mile was an improvement.injury free

Tuesday my legs were, not surprisingly, beat up.  A few easy miles helped them freshen up and again, I had no pain with a totally normal gait after warming up properly.  Yay!  Wednesday was also a few easy miles but this time in I also had the pleasure of being pouring rained on.  My shoes were finally dry by Sunday.

Thursday it was an attempt at the long run.  The humidity Thursday morning was a doozey but I felt good about getting the run done.  I started easy then picked up the pace as the sun rose to burn it off.  With my last few miles at marathon pace, I finished with negative splits.  It was a great first long run back and I couldn’t have been happier.

Friday my legs felt like lead and I took the day off.  Saturday was mile repeats that weren’t exactly on my previous pace but solid for coming off an injury.  Sunday I was back in the gym for strength training.  All in all it was a good welcome back week.  My glute held up without any pain or strain and left my feeling positive about how the rest of my summer will go.

My next race is the Allen Stone Memorial 5k.  I’m not expecting a spectacular performance but want to run well.  I have six weeks to prepare and am looking forward to working hard again. 

Meredith

How do you celebrate being injury free?  Sign up for a race?  A long run?

2017 Elizabeth River Run 10k

Well, my first post injury race is in the can and it was definitely a learning experience.  Saturday’s Elizabeth River Run 10k far from one of my next runs but could have been worse. 

Going into race morning I was concerned about how my glute would hold up.  It’s taken me a while to get warmed up lately and I didn’t want to run for 30 minutes before I ‘raced’.  I spent several workouts last week trying to determine the best way to get going as fast as possible and planned on a 2 mile warm up with two longer pick-ups and some hard strides.

That didn’t happen.  Race morning got hot.  Fast.  Because it was so warm and I actually felt pretty good, I cut the warm-up down to 1.5 miles.  I lined up and fought through some light traffic at the start.  Around Mile 2 I noticed the temperature had gone up about 15 degrees and there wasn’t much a breeze as we circled through the city.  There was at least a decent amount of shade in sections.  I walked leisurely through the water stops and took a breather at the 5k mark to rest my glute.  It had been a long time since I ran reasonably hard for three plus miles and didn’t want to irritate it.elizabeth river run 10k

After that rest stop, my glute was doing well and the heat became more of an issue in the race’s second half.  When I was running I wasn’t too far off my warm weather 10k pace and it felt good.  Unfortunately the weather really got to me.  My heart rate was sky high and not enough water stops didn’t help me bring it down.  The stagnant air and humidity were no help either.  Coming into the last mile I wanted to pick things up a bit.

I increased my pace but had some discomfort in my right leg.  Not in the mood to re-injure myself, I slowed things back down.  I crossed the finish line in 48:12 feeling pretty good.  My biggest issue now is getting used to being uncomfortable again.  My glute seems to be 98% healed and my fear of straining it again is unreasonable.  I didn’t strain it running in the first place.  I’ve spent so much time playing it safe that I’m a bit of rut.  It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable again.

Meredith

Have you run the Elizabeth River Run 10k?  How do you come back from injury?

 

EquiKids 5k + Still Not There

I raced one of my favorite events of the year last weekend, the EquiKids 5k.  Not only do I love volunteering at the farm, racing through the trails each year is always fun.  The cross country 5k is preceded by a 1 Mile Run with the Hounds that Jordy was more than happy to participate in before hamming it up for the camera.equikids 5k

It’s the only cross country course I’m guaranteed to run every time it comes around and I usually don’t perform well.  Maybe it’s because I don’t train on trails very much if at all or because I get too distracted by all of the adorable kids, dogs and horses.  Any way you slice it, I was looking to turn my history of EquiKids 5k performances around this year.  I didn’t.

In spite of finishing as third overall female, it wasn’t a good race or even the race I wanted to run.  Due to some serious rain my schedule got a little screwy in the days before the race.  My final workout was hours later than it should have been.  I definitely could have been fresher at the start line but I also could have been less injured.

My glute injury is feeling much better.  It has had some unexpected side effects, however.  The different, more powerful, movement in my right leg has been leading to extra work for my right Achilles.  That has caused some definite stress on the tendon as it strengthens.  I ran a one mile warm up before toeing the starting line but failed to warm up as completely as I usually do because I was feeling fatigued.  Little did I know I’d pay for it.  About halfway through the race that right side felt like it was about to snap.  No, thanks.  I paused to rub it for five seconds then continued on.  It was a scary moment but felt fine the last 3k.

It was disappointing to realize I’m not where I thought I was in terms of bouncing back.  I understand the lumpy, muddy, ankle working course probably made things a little bit worse in that ankle.  That doesn’t make it feel any better.  The EquiKids 5k curse continues and I’m looking toward next year already.

Meredith

How often do you race on trails?  Love it or hate it?

Slowly Coming Back+ Time to Adjust

Training rolled on last week after another round of physical therapy.  I’m definitely feeling better and can tell a difference in my gait.  A solid, positive one.  Of course, if hopping right into race shape for this Saturday’s EquiKids Cross Country 5k was that easy, none of us would be very concerned about injuries in the first place.  But it’s not.  And nature has it out for me.  It’s like coming back from an injury wasn’t bad enough, so the heat got turned on last week.

I really want to race well this weekend.  It’s one of my favorite events and I usually don’t put in a great performance on the dirt trail course.  There’s something to be said for actually practicing.  I do 95% of my running on roads since that’s where I race, except for once a year but maybe one of these times I’ll get it together.  My biggest concern, however, isn’t the race’s surface.  It’s my grumpy right glute and staying calm (easy pace) enough to not get re-injured.coming back

I did some speed work last week, keeping myself in check and staying within 30 seconds of half marathon pace for anything over 800M.  I definitely feel more out of shape than I am and don’t expect coming back to take too long.  Except that it’s 90 degrees out with 90% humidity and barely a breeze.  Talk about a double whammy!

It could be worse.  I could be 100% healthy and trying to prep for a fast 5k in rough training weather.  Luckily coming back from injury is helping me keep things slower and safer in the warmth.  Eventually I’m going to have to adjust to the summer’s heat and humidity.  It might as well be right now. 

Meredith

How do you handle coming back after an injury?

Physical Therapy + Feeling Crummy

My training lately has been a mess.  I took downtime then dove back in only to strain my glute and get pushed right back to the sidelines.  After my DNF at the Big Blue 5k I decided to get some help.  Even though I wasn’t in a ton of pain and most of my regular activities weren’t in danger, I definitely could not run through it.  And that’s pretty much all I wanted to do.

When I knew I couldn’t run I got a little bit lost.  I wasn’t sure the best way to heal my type of muscle pull or even if it was the muscle I thought it was.  So, off I went to physical therapy.  I had no idea what to expect since my injury wasn’t very severe.  After a few hip strength tests my therapist started going through a variety of exercises designed to balance out my right and left sides.  Here I am doing my ‘homework’!  After five days of not running I eased back at the end of last week with an easy 30 minute jog.  My glute felt good physical therapyand it seems the physical therapy is paying off.

Surprisingly, I actually enjoy it.  It’s supposed to be tough, and it is, but my therapist is awesome.  We do exercises that really challenge my balance and hip stability.  It’s fun to do something totally out of my regular routine. But even though my injury is feeling much better I’m still on the sidelines.

As if an injury and a lack of miles weren’t already enough to put my training back a few weeks, I’ve come down with some kind of junk in my chest.  It’s not only giving my abs an extra workout with all the coughing but sucking my motivation away, too.  I’m getting lots of sleep and taking it easy while it works itself out.  One of my favorite races, the EquiKids Cross Country 5k, is in less than two weeks.  I never perform well at it and was really looking forward to improving this year.  Unfortunately, that might not be the case.  Either way, I”ll head into race day as healthy as I can be.

Meredith

Have you ever gone to physical therapy?  What for?

Blog Spring Break + A DNF

I took a little spring break from blogging after Run the Bluegrass but now I’m back!  Not much has been going on training wise the last week as I fought through a small injury.  I did manage to catch up on some reading and make my first batch of beer cheese mac and chicken, though (recipe coming).  Also included in my spring break were a 5k DNF and a trip to the physical therapist for a little help.

I noticed some difficulties when I started having right shin pain running.  It’s a big sign my gait is funky when my otherwise OK right side starts acting up.  Shin pain is specifically something I never have to deal with.  Knowing that the real root of my pain wasn’t my shin or ankle, I went DNFsearching.  Yes, I had blown out my glutes and quads doing a bunch of pistols but I couldn’t imagine that making that much of a difference.  I’ve run sore before.

Wrong.  My weaker right side was really suffering and that glute wasn’t firing at all.  I could run about 800M without pain.  Trying different shoes got me nowhere.  I most definitely had a strained right glue.  Not wanting to hurt myself more, I took it easy the next few days, deciding to fight through Saturday’s Big Blue 5k then re-evaluate.

Race morning dawned and I steeled myself for a crummy 5k.  There would be no racing.  I’d give it all I could but wasn’t expecting much.  The truth is race morning I could not have been less excited.  The late start, 10:30, meant it would be warm and humid, neither of which I had seen in quite some time.  I had been low on energy for a few days fighting something that never came to fruition and stressing over what my leg was going to do all morning didn’t help.

I quit at the one mile mark with pain shooting up my right ankle and shin.  Not worth hurting myself.  Yes, it was frustrating and disappointing.  I haven’t run since.  I’m letting that strained muscle heal and focusing on evening out some muscle imbalances in my hips.  There’s another race, another day and I’ll be there in tip top shape in a few weeks.

Meredith

Have you ever had a DNF?  How did you deal with it?

My Not-So-Good 10k Race

Saturday morning I ran the Heart of Ghent 10k.  The first 10k I’d run since the same race in 2014 was not-so-good and far from the race I wanted.  After spending the better part of race week fighting stuffed up-ness, low quality sleep and less than idea nutrition, I had no idea what to expect.  I’d never run a race with congestion and completely stopped up sinuses before.not-so-good race

I had wanted to wake up race morning feeling 98%.  Instead my stuffed up-ness had moved load of mucus into my nose, throat and chest leaving me feeling 70%.  The warm (75ish) and humid morning would most certainly be not-so-good for my breathing.  After a breakfast I couldn’t taste and warm-up that felt decent, I lined up to start with positive thoughts circling in my head.

Miles 1 and 2 were right where I wanted to be, 6:55 and 6:54.  Then…things fell apart before 5k.  I had to stop around 3.5k to fix a right shoe issue.  Huge mistake.  My heart rate skyrocketed when I started running again.  Without the ability to breathe through my nose I couldn’t get it back down and started to feel the lactic acid.  Too early for that, I thought.  I managed to push through 6000M before my brain get the better of me.  With an uncomfortably high heart rate and nothing but snot in my nose it got really hard to find my happy place.  Every time I said I felt good I had to blow my nose into my sleeve.  Kind of kills the moment.

Not-so-good race’s second half wasn’t much better.  The humidity had decreased but the temperature had risen and my oxygen depleted muscles were getting grumpy.  Over the final 4k I took several walking breaks just to get a deep breath.  Forget the PR, let’s not puke!  I grabbed water at 7k to little avail.  I choked badly as the slobber in my throat tried to block it and spent the next few meters hacking up nothing.  Really pleasant.  With 2k to go I settled into a jog and begged for the finish line.  I walked across the line at 50:58 (8:15).  Far from the run I had wanted and worked for all summer, I was pretty neutral about it.  Stuff happens. There’s always another race.

On the bright side, my not-so-good race could have been worse.  I’m not injured and it was definitely a learning experience (take it easy when you feel crappy).  In addition to being the first time I raced with congestion, it was the first time I kept my Garmin in kilometers instead of miles.  I really liked it for the distance and am definitely going to do it again at my next 5k.  For now, I’m quickly putting this behind me.  My goal half marathon is a few short days away and I’m really focusing on a strong performance.

Meredith

Have you raced sick or recovering?

Stuffed Up for 10k Race Day

Tomorrow is race day.  I have the Heart of Ghent 10k and am hoping to PR.  Unfortunately, it’s not looking too good.  Yes, the weather should be great and my legs are feeling fresh.  My head, however, is all stuffed up.  After a rough weekend of travel and little sleep in Morgantown I woke up earlier this week with my usual sore throat and ear ache.

Any time I ever get exhausted it happens.  I get stuffed up in the ears and sore in the throat.  My sinuses are great, my body feels fine, plenty of appetite but my head is filled with cotton balls.  For 30+ years I’ve known to expect the inflammation and tried to prevent it.  I failed this time.  Maybe I stuffed upought to have my tonsils out?  Either way, I’ll live.  It’s just bad timing this round.

As part of my ‘get better’ effort, I took the week’s workouts easy with just light speed work while sucking down chicken noodle soup and ice cream.  My speed work was solid.  My body weight strength workout was good.  I felt very positive about the workouts citing my stuffed up-ness.  I’ve tried hard to get lots of extra sleep and saw an improvement yesterday.  Writing this I’m closer to 80% than 100% and hoping to be at 98% in the morning.

I really want to hammer (PR) this race since it’s my last ‘long’ workout before my goal half marathon.  I’ve worked hard all summer for these next two races and really want them to go well.  My training is there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to give it a chance to show me what it can do and no matter what, I know I’ll give everything I can out on that race course tomorrow.

Meredith

What do you do if you’re stuffed up for a race?

Workouts for Every Week

Every week I make sure my training is different than the last one.  Having variety in a training schedule is undeniably important.  I never repeat a workout more than once every two weeks and only in the case of mile repeats if that often.  Even though the exact content might change, the types of workouts I do consistent across every training week.  Each one focuses on a different aspect of improving my performance and the variety forces me to adapt in positive ways without over working one system or another.  Here’s what I find on my schedule every week of training:

Long Run:  Of course the long run!  As a distance runner the long run builds my fitness base and helps me stay strong.  Because my day, or days, off change, my long run doesn’t always every weekstart or end my training week.  That makes it a great place to practice mental toughness when there’s bad weather or I’m heading for an off day beat up.  Run at an easy pace, I’ll add more than one when I’m running big mileages weeks to keep wear and tear to a minimum.

Track Work:  In complete contrast to my long runs, track days are all about beating myself up.  Every week I tackle short intervals of anything shorter than 90 seconds or 800M.  These sessions are hard on my legs, core and cardiovascular system.  The goal is to improve my tolerance for lactic acid, build VO2max and keep my turnover rate high.

Tempo Run:  This type of run trades off between race pace miles and long, faster intervals over a mile run at a comfortably hard pace.  I use them to build aerobic endurance, spending the bulk of these workouts getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  They let me know that I can push myself and keep going when I thought I was finished.  It’s typically here I first notice a performance improvement.

Easy Running:  Sometimes these are called recovery runs.  I wouldn’t ever say these are ‘junk miles’ since they help me a lot.  It’s inevitable I’ll be sore and tired at some point every week and these usually 4-milers keep me moving without added strain.  I run them very easy, 30-45 seconds slower than my long run pace, trying to breathe every weekexclusively through my nose for the entire duration to make sure it stays easy.

Yoga:  I recently started adding more yoga and meditation to my schedule.  Each morning I flow through 10 minutes of hip opening and spine loosening poses.  Every night I do at least 15 minutes to wind down my day, finishing with breathing exercises, reviewing the day and planning the next one.

Crossfit:  I Crossfit or lift heavy weights three times a week.  The strength, balance and mobility required to properly perform the movement has undoubtedly improved my running.

Meredith

What workouts are sure to include every week?  Do you have favorites?

The Never Ending Run

Have you ever had a never ending run?  When you know you’re moving and things are going pretty well until you look down at your watch to see it’s been five entire minutes.  Five minutes?!?  It felt like FOREVER.  You’re not extremely fatigued, sore, unmotivated or dealing never ending runwith horrible weather conditions but this workout will definitely seem like a never ending run.

I have definitely had my share for any number of reasons.  My head isn’t in the game because I’m distracted by something else going on that day or maybe I really needed a day off instead.  One thing I won’t do is bail on a run, unless I’m injured, even if it takes what feels like a ridiculously long time to complete.  So how do I get through these dragging moments?

The first thing I do is start smiling.  I’m likely to get frustrated when things aren’t moving along as I want them to, so I make sure to get back to my happy place.  I’m lucky I get to run whenever I want and I’d be silly to forget it.  Smiling also forces your face, and your entire body in turn, to relax.  It could also be exactly what the next person you pass needed to turn their frown upside down.

If I’m smiling, moving and still not getting where I need to be, I’ll evaluate my body.  Am I hurting?  What did I do yesterday or two days ago?  Looking back through my recent workouts can give me a good clue as to why this sessions has turned into another never ending run and help me fix it by finishing sooner, intentionally slowing down or stopping for a stretch.

The third step to get this endless run over with as painlessly as possible is to turn my watch off.  Maybe it’s stopping long enough to drop satellites and just finishing a timed run.  Maybe it’s turning if off altogether.  I’ll be just fine with one less day’s data to pour over.  Running is fun, keep it that way.

No matter what I do to get back on track with a tough workout, I know it’s a step towards making me mentally tougher.  And that’s good news for any workout.  Focusing, remembering your goals and realizing it could always be worse are great ways to turn a never ending run into a successful session.

Meredith

Have you had a never ending run?  How did you deal with it?