Running on gluten-free carbs…

Archive for August, 2012

Running through a hurricane…

Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon

Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon

Well, I was hoping and praying and dreaming of a nice day for the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon on Saturday morning.  But it seems Hurricane Isaac has other plans for the race.  So, as much as I was hoping to stall any chance of me running a half marathon in the rain…it seems like this will not be the case.  It is going to happen…on Saturday.

Am I worried about it?  Nah.  I mean, yeah running for 13.1 miles in the rain isn’t my idea of a great time…but I do love to run in the rain.  Hurricane weather, however, I’m not too sure of.

As it is, they are predicting winds up to 7 mph and about 6 inches of rain in Indianapolis.  That’s a whole heap of rain.

So, if I like to run in the rain…why the blog?

Because…I just got new running shoes not too long ago.  And, sadly, running in the rain shortens the life of shoes by…a lot.  So, the hard-earned money I put into those new kicks…is about to be shot.  I will do my best to get them dried out as soon as possible.  This means I’ll probably be grabbing a newspaper at the hotel and getting the inserts out of them as soon as possible.

As of now, the race is set to go off as planned.  However, if there is lightning…there will be a delay of the start of the race.

I trained so hard to get back to running in time for this race.  I’ll run it rain or shine.  And I know I’ll have a blast doing it.  This race means a lot to me because I had to really fight my way back from injury…taking baby steps…working with the most amazing podiatrist ever…and taking a hit on my training…but it’s been worth it.  And I want this race to be good.  Even if Hurricane Isaac drenches me from head to foot.  Even if it means I have to go buy new shoes when all is said and done.  The fact that a month ago I couldn’t walk…but in two days I’ll be heading out for a wild, wet, crazy 13.1 with 1799 other women in the streets of Indianapolis.

Amy I ready for this?  Yeah.  As ready as I can be and ready to shine as best as I can given the circumstances.  No new PR will be set on this race.  I have to run this one smart so as not to injure myself again.  My podiatrist was kind enough to get me to this race I owe him the respect of following through on my promise to run this one easy.

In the end…it will totally be worth it.

Rain or shine.

I’ll be at that finish line!



Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, KY (August 25, 2012)

Me crossing the finish line of the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, Kentucky

Me crossing the finish line of the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run – Louisville, Kentucky

Race: Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run

Place: Louisville, KY

Date: August 25, 2012

Time: 25:49

It was early in the morning when my alarm went off prior to my first race back from injury.  Let me tell you…I was ready to be back to it.  After doing a fun mile run (my local running store hosts the BlueMile BrewMile at local breweries/pubs) to test out my new orthodic inserts on a short run and…get back to running with others, I was hungry for this race.  And I woke up feeling really good, really rested, and ready to take on the hills of Iroquois Park in Louisville, Kentucky.  This particular park is known for its rather large hills.  I’ve run there a few times and every time…the hills kick my ass.

That Saturday morning…I was feeling quite confident.  I found a little saying on Pinterest as I was relaxing prior to eating some cereal and heading out to the park.  It said:

Turn a setback into a comeback.

It was spot on how I felt about this race.  As I mentioned in the previous blog, this is the second time that I’ve run the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run.  Last year…I was coming back off of a stress fracture and horrible runner’s knee.  This year…a torn plantar fasciitis.  Honestly, my goal is to run it next year without making it a comeback race.

But…technically it was a comeback.  And I promised my podiatrist, my mom, my roomie, and my friends who cared that I would take it easy.  I had ever intention of doing that.

My roommate and I arrived at Iroquois Park about an hour before the start of the race.  I grabbed my Cashew Cookie Lärabar, my iPod, and my iPhone and we locked up the car and started toward the amphitheater.  When we rounded the corner, we were in for a shock.  People were everywhere.  There were lots of booths set up for the health fare and such that accompanied the race.  One of Louisville’s food trucks was there as well.  The giant 10 foot colon was inflated and inviting people to walk through it.  And the crowd was awesome.  So many people were milling about, checking out the booths, seeing what was being offered, and talking with those around them.  The atmosphere was uplifting.  And at the 30 minutes pre-race mark, I cracked open my Lärabar and nibbled on it.  It was right around this time that the executive director of the Colon Cancer Research Project, Andrea, welcomed all the runners, walkers, and teams.  And she introduced other speakers, who proceeded to give short speeches.  Then…they called all the colon cancer survivors in attendance up to the front.  It was so moving.

My roommate said she was going to head up toward the start line to get a spot, so she hugged me and wished me luck before setting off.  And a moment later, the organizers told the runners to head toward the start line, as we were to lead the line of people so the walkers would be safe and not get run over.  U2’s “Beautiful Day” was playing over the loud speaker.  And I was taking steps toward that starting lineup.  And that was when a slight bit of fear set in.  I felt like I was about to hyperventilate.  It was all in my head.  I knew it was fear of getting hurt again, not being able to do this for awhile.  I really wanted to get past this fear I had of the one sport I have ever found joy and love in.  With a few very deep breaths, I set my iPod, focused on Bono’s words as he sang, drew meaning from that, and then listened to the race director give instructions on how we were to navigate the course.

Then…a moment later, I hit start on my iPod and we were sent off with a whistle.  With a deep breath and a slow exhale, I flashed a peace sign to my roommate as I stepped over the sensors at the start line…and was off.

Navigating Iroquois Park at a decent pace is really not hard.  Especially since this race starts us going uphill and has us end going uphill.  Yeah…it is evil.  So, I just worked on running a smart, good race.  It was warm out, so I wanted to take that into account when I set my pace.  I also didn’t want to push too much at the beginning and have nothing left for the hill I knew I’d face near the end.  Most of this run was actually done going uphill.  There were some downhill parts, but mostly uphill.  Trust me…it is possible.

My first mile ticked off and I was actually running better than I anticipated.  I felt good.  I was able to breathe without laboring too much.  I tell you, the two weeks I spent not running due to injury had messed with my fitness levels.  I felt so out of shape when I returned.  And running slower is not easy for me to do.  But I understand the importance of doing it…for the benefit of my heeling foot and to prevent further injury or further aggravating an injury.  I wasn’t too worried about my pace.  My goal was simply to come in faster than my comeback time from the previous year, which was 30:52.  It holds the distinction of being my slowest 5K race I have ever run.  I was already off to a better start, despite my initial trepidation.  I think a lot of that was all in my head.

I focused a lot of attention on the uphill climbs.  I had people pass me, but I didn’t  care.  I was not ready to push like I used to, and fight up that hill.  I was having enough of a fight trying to do so without straining a tendon.  With a half marathon coming up the following weekend, I didn’t want to do irreparable damage on a 5K.

Before I knew it, Mile 2 was in front of me and I was holding a decent enough pace, even passing some of the people who had passed me up on the hills.  But they caught me again as that steep hill hit.  I knew it was coming, and I had managed to conserve enough energy to propel myself up it at a slow, steady, decent pace.  I didn’t care who passed me, I was getting up that hill safely.  And that’s what I did.  And when it leveled off, I could see the edge of the parking lot coming up, and that meant I was almost to the finish line.

I didn’t look at my watch or waste any time.  I just kept on running.  I wasn’t sure exactly how much further I would have, but soon, I could hear people.  And then I saw my roommate waving at me, cheering for me.  The finish line was right there.  I just had to get over the line.  And according to the clock, I already smashed my previous time from the year before.  I crossed, breathing hard, and immediately heading over to the cold water being offered.  I grabbed a bottle and Cathy came over and found me, already telling me how well I had done and that she couldn’t believe I ran it in sub-26 minutes.  I surprised myself.  And I felt good…if not breathless and really hot.

Afterwards, I worked my way over to the Earth Fare tent where I received a banana.  I love a banana after a run and this tasted so good.  We settled in at one of the picnic tables and I went to go get more water from another booth.  While there, I found orange slices and grabbed one.  I ended up splitting it with Cathy…then went back and got one more for each of us.  Crazy delicious.  It was just what I needed.

After a few moments of re-hydrating, I decided to go and look for a friend of mine that I used to work with, who was supposed to be walking at this event.  I stood around, cheering on those heading to the finish line, hoping we’d cross paths.  But I never saw her.  And when I look at the official results, I don’t see her name on there…so I guess she didn’t make it to the race that day.

After the finish line was taken down, the awards were to be given out.  Even if I know I’m not getting anything, I tend to stick around and cheer for those who do.  And it was to my extreme shock that I ended up placing 3rd in my division.  I happily went up and received my medal for that honor.  I couldn’t have been happier.

Talk about turning a setback into a comeback.  I’m really tempted to take that medal in and show my podiatrist.  Maybe I will.

So, as it stands the official results for the Walk Away From Colon Cancer & 5K Run are that I finished in 25:49, was 72/684 overall, and 3/54 in my age division. Totally pleased!!!  How could I not be.  I missed two prior races due to not being able to walk leading up to this, was very nervous and tentative in my training runs…and then…I manage to surprise myself.

It was a great morning for a great race.  One that benefited a fantastic cause that is near and dear to my heart.  Next year, my goal is to run this race without having to make it a comeback from injury race.



The road to recovery…yet again…

Me and Cathy at my first race back after injury last year was the Walk Away From Colon Cancer 5K Run.  It has the same distinction this year.

Me and Cathy at my first race back after injury last year – the Walk Away From Colon Cancer 5K Run. It has the same distinction this year.

It was just last year around this time that I was prepping for my first race back from an injury.  That injury was stress fracture in my right foot and really bad runner’s knee in my right knee.  It kept me out of running for 3 months last year…and I struggled hard to come back to it.  I was determined to be a better, stronger, and smarter runner after that.  And…with a lot of motivation, a lot of practice, and listening to what my body was telling me…I did just that.

And my first race back happened on August 27, 2011 at the Walk Away From Colon Cancer 5K Run in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was my first time running in Iroquois Park, so I had no idea what to expect.  But from what I heard…it was hilly.  Not what one wanted to hear when coming back from injury.  But…with a lot of long-distance cheering from friends and family…and my ultimate support section (that being Cathy, my roommate…who has never missed a race yet and is always at that finish line)…I got through it and finished with my slowest 5K race to date.  Yes…even slower than my first 5K ever.

But there are lessons in these stories.

As I stated in my earlier post, I’m recovering from a torn plantar fascia.  This very painful injury had me on crutches for two weeks and has since had my foot taped up in order for me to comfortably move around.  It was hard for my podiatrist to even okay me to run a little bit, let alone okay me to run in a half marathon on September 1, 2012…but he did okay it as I assured him that I would not push too hard and I would slow my pace.  The point was to heal properly, not do further damage.

Well, that date is rapidly approaching…and my first official race back after missing out on two prior due to being on crutches and unable to run…is this Saturday.  And what is it?

The Walk Away From Colon Cancer 5K Race.

Again.

But, I think I’ve done well to prepare myself for this.  I rested for the first week after seeing my podiatrist.  He had given me permission to run up to 2 miles, but I didn’t…figuring I could take the rest of that week off and then slowly get back to it.  And…that’s what I did.  When I went back to get fitted for inserts for my shoes, he said that I could work my way up to 10 miles over the next couple of weeks, gradually increasing my runs by 20%.  But if I hurt…I was to stop.  I agreed.

And so far, I’ve been doing fine.  Sometimes something hurts, but I slow my pace and ease up…and I get that flow going again.  My first weekend back on the road, I did a 10K run around my parent’s neighborhood.  This past weekend…8 miles…with as many hills as I could find.  I’ve kept my pace slower than I used to run and so far, my foot has treated me well.  Nothing that has crippled m up again.  And I intend to keep it that way.

The road to recovery is not an easy one for me.  I put on my running shoes and all I want to do is take off and see how fast I can go and for how long.  I’ve had to train myself to look at my runs differently.  And it’s even more challenging when what used to be an easy run now feels so hard.  It’s amazing how much fitness you can lose over just 2 weeks from being up on crutches and unable to even walk.  I’ve been pretty good about doing my foot exercises he gave me to do, hoping to get that tendon back into perfect shape.  I struggle at times to push myself because I have this fear that if I push even a little bit…I could get injured again…or do worse damage.  And that’s the last thing I want to do.  Those two weeks I couldn’t run were two of the worst weeks I’ve had in a long time.  I was miserable.

But when I finally laced up my shoes for an easy 2 mile run…my first since the incident…I looked at my roommate and told her I was afraid.  She told me not to be afraid of something I love doing so much.  It’s okay to be nervous…but I shouldn’t be afraid.  And so…I set out and ran…2 very easy, very slow miles.  And I was glad I did.

That fear is still there every time I put on those running shoes and head out for a run.  I want to get back to where I was pre-injury, but I know I need to take it easy.  Ignoring the pace on my Garmin is not an easy task.  I tell myself not to look…just to count the miles.  And that’s what I do.  But, sometimes it is just so tempting to let my eyes wander down on the watch and see what pace I’m going at.

Right now…it’s not about speed, it’s about getting through each run safely, without pain, and feeling good.  The fitness will return once my body has healed completely.  Until then…it’s all about pacing myself.  Slow and steady means I get to race.  And if that’s the case, I’ll be a tortoise.  Because a stretch of time without running is torture to me.  I’d rather be slow then sedentary.

On Saturday…I hit up the road at Iroquois Park once again for the same race I made my official comeback in last year.  My goal is to simply finish…whether it means walking the hills like I did last year or not.  At that finish line, I want to cross it without having to limp or needing assistance.  I just want to run a good race and continue on my path to a full recovery.

Yes…this isn’t an easy task…but I’m making it work because in the end, I know it will make me a better runner.

The hardest lessons are most often the most important ones.  I’m learning a lot about myself and what I’m capable of now more than ever.



Color me blue…bandaged…and bummed

Taped up foot to help with torn plantar fascia

Taped up foot to help with torn plantar fascia

Remember my letter to my left foot?  Epic fail.  Instead of doing me a favor and getting better…it decided it was going to ignore my pleas all together and so something of its own accord.  It decided to get painful.

After my 4 mile run over a week ago, where I carefully taped up my foot and got  through the race with no issues…my foot decided to fight back.  So, after cooling down and standing around and chatting with my friend Keith afterwards, I stepped off the curb to start toward my car and found myself literally paralyzed with white-hot pain coursing through my foot.  Not good.  And from there…it got worse.  To the point that after fighting all day to move, when I got home that Saturday late afternoon, my foot had enough.  And I could no longer put any weight on it.

It was like that on Sunday too.  So, Monday morning I made a phone call to my doctor to see about getting an appointment.  I figured something had to be wrong because any pressure I put on my foot led to lots of pain and tears.  She was booked up until 3:30 p.m. on Monday, so I ended up taking time off from work and finally getting in to see the doctor.  This meant I needed some help from Cathy (the roomie) because I couldn’t walk anywhere.  She got me up to the office, back to the scale, and then to the exam room.

My doctor came in and asked me some questions.  At that point, my ankle was still a little swollen, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been.  I had been icing it religiously and taking Ibuprofen though.  Well, she decided it was Plantar Fasciitis, which is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue is the plantar fascia and it connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.  She said she would schedule me with a podiatrist, but until then I was given some exercises to help with my foot.  She offered to write me a prescription for crutches, but someone at the office had already volunteered to bring some in for me.

Every day, I would say a little prayer that when I woke up, I would be able to stand on my foot.  But it didn’t happen.  The pain didn’t lessen either.  To bear any sort of weight on my left foot was excruciating.  I’d try…oh, I would try, but it hurt like hell.  The crutches were a Godsend, except they hurt my arms.  That following day after I saw my doctor, I got a call from her office saying my appointment with my podiatrist would be the following Monday.  A whole week away.  I was more than a little frustrated.  And I still hoped that I would be better by the weekend and could cancel my appointment with the podiatrist and get back to my active lifestyle and daily runs.

It didn’t play out like that.  And one reason I had hoped to be better by that weekend was I was registered (for a whopping $55) to be a runner at The Color Run in Louisville.  What is so great about The Color Run?  Well, they throw paint powder on you as you run the 5K.  A few ladies in my office were doing it.  Every time they brought it up, I started to cry.  Because I knew…I couldn’t do it.  Not even walk it.  Not with crutches.  Could you imagine going 3.1 miles on crutches.  My arms hate me for even thinking about it.  It sucked.  But I consoled myself with the fact that I was out of luck…and out of my entry fee on this 5K.

I thought I was dealing with that well, until I went to packet pick-up (after all, I paid $55, I should at last go get my number and swag bag…with t-shirt and all).  I got my race number, my packet, my t-shirt and hobbled back to the car.  And started to cry.  I had really wanted to be a part of that race.  And my foot had other ideas.  No amount of consoling from my roommate helped either, but she tried.  She really did.  As the day went on, I endured pictures of the race going up on Facebook by not just my co-workers, but friends of mine who were able to be a part of the fun event.  I had to stop going to Facebook, because it only made me cry again.

The very next day was my appointment with my podiatrist.  That morning, I hobbled into the office and turned in my paperwork.  They soon took me back to an exam room, got me prepped for some X-rays.  Let me tell you, when you can’t put any weight on your foot, stepping up to a platform to get X-rays of your foot sucks.  It sucks scissors.

But with the help of the X-ray technician, we got me up there and positioned for a few different X-rays…of both feet, the left foot, and the right foot.  And then, with my crutches, I was back to the exam room and waiting on the podiatrist.  He arrived…and introduced himself.  He seemed very nice.  He asked me to give some background as to what happened, so I told him the story about the race and everything.  So…he was quite aware that I am a runner.  Oh…and then I broke some more news to him…I am signed up for a half marathon on September 1, 2012…exactly a month away.

He hung his head, “Oh crap.”  When he inquired as to my training schedule, I whipped out my iPhone and pulled up my app for that (Yes…I do have an app for that).  He looked at it and then handed the phone back to me.  And the said that it looked like I had tiny tears in my plantar fascia.  He pulled up the X-rays and began to show me the evidence of this.  And when he was done with that, he said that normally he would give patients a Cortisone shot in the foot, but as I am a runner, he wouldn’t do that.  He believes giving runners a Cortisone shot is sending them on a suicide mission.  So, he instead taped up my feet (yes…both of them) and got down to the nitty-gritty.

He gave me 6 exercises for my foot/ankle/calf muscles to do three times a day.  I could still run.  But I really had to dial it back.  No more than 2 miles.  Slow.  Easy.  And then…for the rest of my training, I was to move to the pool or the bike or the elliptical (as long as my heel doesn’t come up off the machine).  Two miles of running.  When I’m training for 13.1?  Yep.  But…I want to get better, yes?  He then said, that if the pain didn’t let up…then we would have to nix the half marathon in 4 weeks.  I almost cried.  Almost.  The only reason I didn’t was because it was still green lighted for now.  FOR NOW.

Then he told me he wanted me back in the office on Thursday to get fitted for some orthotics for my shoes.   Okay…I was supposed to go out of town to Columbus after work on Wednesday…but getting my foot back in working order did have to take precedence.  So…I agreed and scheduled the appointment.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be until later in the afternoon.  GAH!

Two reasons this frustrated me.  For one…I was entered in a 5K (which I knew I couldn’t do…so now I was out another $30 I was out), and had to postpone my journey out of town to visit with a friend.  But…it was for the best and in the best interest of my foot.  It just sucked.  Oh…and he told me I was not to use the crutches unless I was in a lot of pain.  So, I sucked it up…and walked my way out of the office.  Wouldn’t you know it…having my feet taped up helped!

So…here I sit…$85 poorer from races I don’t get to run.  Plus out my co-pay at the doctor’s office…plus the co-pay I have to pay tomorrow when I go back.  Let’s not forget the cost of my inserts for my shoes…

Yeah…it’s not pretty, friends.  Not at all.

But, there is a silver lining to this cloud.  Tonight I was able to stand on my left foot as I was changing into my pajamas.  It didn’t hurt enough to make me think that I should sit down to do it.  So, I see that as a good thing and as an improvement.  I’ve been good about taking the anti-inflammatory he prescribed me.  And I’ve been doing my exercises three times a day.  I haven’t gone back to the gym yet…and I haven’t tried running…yet.  I’m scared to.  I don’t want it to hurt and I don’t want to do further damage.

But not running is killing me more, I think.  I’m irritable, I’m cranky, and I’m missing it.  Even if I can go for just two, slow miles…then…I’ll take it.  So, I think on Monday…I might give it a shot.  Even if I last for a few steps.  I’m at least trying.  I’ll get back to it.  I hope.  I was just reaching the peak of my running.  I was better than I ever had been.  And then I was sidelined.  So…here’s to thinking positively and hoping for continued improvement.  I’d really like to run in that half marathon.  It’s women only race…which I love.  I ran the 5K last year and said that this year it would be the half.  I hope to still be able to do it.  But that’s up to my doctor in the end.  I trust him.  After all, he called me the day after my visit to see how I was progressing, if the prescription was working, and if I was staying off the crutches.

As for the tape…it’s been a huge help.  I’ve been walking on my own since he taped me up…and that was leaps and bounds ahead of where I was prior to going into his office to see him.

So, I’m bummed to sit out of yet another race I paid for…but I hope this will mean I can come back to the 13.1 miles I want to run in the beginning of September.  Keep your fingers crossed.  And here’s hoping my foot continues to heal properly, perfectly, and remains strong so that I can get back to pounding the pavement and building my speed and endurance back up.

Yeah…I miss running.

A whole hell of a lot.