The 4 Minute Run

Oh weird, running news? Remind me what that is like again?

It’s officially been 28 days of ZERO RUNNING. Minus the “practice stride” I took in the garage on Saturday to find out if I still remembered how to run. (Good news – initial reports say yes.)

Today I marched over to the gym at work (in normal shoes – thank the heavens above) determined to show Stella a thing or two about getting your groove back. (See what I did there with the movie title pun?)

The Pure Flows were laced tight (the right one was actually too tight and I lost circulation in my baby toe shortly thereafter but that is neither here nor there), the latest issue of Runner’s World was propped up, I set the speed to 4.8 (yes, really), and I “ran”.

FOR 4 MINUTES.

Let’s ignore the fact that some people can walk at a 4.8 pace. I WAS RUNNING (okay, jogging) for 0.25 miles.

Is it possible to get runner’s high after less than 4 minutes of actually running? I SAY YES.

And then I panicked, walked at an incline to round out a mile and moved on to my new frenemy the Arc Trainer for another 25 minutes. Let’s talk about the most unsatisfying workout in the entire world – Arc Trainer. I would rather have been at Mile 24 in a Marathon and forced to consume steamed broccoli mixed with Gu (BARF) while running than spend another minute on the Arc Trainer. (I’m honestly not exaggerating in the slightest either.)

In an ironic twist of fate, the zip-up I got after the NWM Half Marathon (also known as “the day that will not be spoken about ever again”) was the zip-up I had in my bag. So I flipped off fate and destiny, and pulled it on, feeling all the more triumphant for doing so.

(Let’s insert a refreshing dose of honesty here: Am I scared I’ll never get back to my comfortable 8:30/pace? Sure am. Will I put in the work to get there?  Sure will.)

But let’s ignore all that and focus on the important stuff.

Run. 4 Minutes. NO PAIN.

I think I’ll get all crazy tomorrow and go for 6.

What’s up now stress fracture?

The 5 Stages of Running Injury Grief

As I type this post, I’m watching Game 2 of the World Series. I’m also watching my eyes get assaulted by a one MR. WILL SCHUSTER (from Glee) singing the National Anthem. 2010 brought us Lady Antebellum. 2012 brings us Mr. Schu. Somehow this doesn’t seem fair. To anyone involved.

Boyfriend and I were lucky enough to go to Game 1 last night – and by lucky I mean we shelled out an obscene amount of money for Bleacher tickets to be there while Pablo Sandoval made history, and Justin Verlander got owned by our entire line-up. IT. WAS. AMAZING.
Not amazing? Crutching. I have BRUISES on my ribs from those contraptions. I took it easy, stayed seated, and didn’t leave my seat once. A Cha Cha Bowl (my first!) was also thoroughly enjoyed – Tyler Florence knows his stuff – those things are amazing.
It was singlehandedly the best game I’ve ever been to (Game 2 of the 2010 World Series comes in at a close second for obvious reasons – Cain domination over the Texas Rangers) and I cannot WAIT for the series to continue.
Giants aside, let’s move on to how Kristine has become the clumsiest, most-accident prone person on the planet.
Never mind that I trained for and completed a full marathon with NOT A SINGLE INJURY, but in the last week the following has happened:
  • Stress fracture in the heel – requiring crutches/boot
  • Slamming my hand in the car door trying to get said crutches/boot in safely
  • Dropping the base of our VITAMIX BLENDER (approximately 10 lbs – no joke) and in an effort to shield my precious broken heel, breaking it’s fall with my thigh. Resulting in a massive bruise
  • Said crutches bruising my ribcage

Yeah, this blender is HUGE.

My life is in shambles and I’m literally, a battered mess.
(Did I mention I’m not dramatic at all either?) 😉
But really, stress-fracture wise, I think I went through the 5 Stages of Running Injury Grief (I just made these up so just go with it…)
1. Denial
  • As I ran the Nike Half (yes I ran all 13.1 miles on a now-stress fractured heel), I thought it was at most, a twisted ankle. I kid you not. I never in a million years thought a bone in my foot was fractured with tiny cracks. Never. I would never have run a half-marathon on a foot that could be broken. I told myself it was probably a minor sprain, maybe from wearing flip-flops on weekends or heels during the week. I told myself it wasn’t serious and it would stop hurting as soon as I stopped running. Nerves, pre-race jitters, you name it, I convinced myself that was it.
 
2. Anger
  • Setting up my iPhone 5 was the catalyst here. I had just come home from a Spin class, was utterly exhausted from having to crutch around the Marina and our apartment, and was getting beyond frustrated trying to set up (and failing miserably) my iPhone 5 while simultaneously hopping/crutching around the apartment trying to get ready for the day. Enter pity party. Enter boyfriend being a complete saint (as usual) and talking some sense into me. “No Kristine your life has not ended because you logged exactly 0 miles the last 10 days. No you can’t die from lack of mileage. Yes I’m sure you will run again at least once in your life.” 😉 (I’m kidding on the exact context, I swear I’m not that much of a headcase.)
 
3. Sadness
  • Stemming from the anger, I then got sad. I convinced myself my running days were over, and I would probably never again be able to wear my beautiful Stuart Weitzman heels, much less run in my BRAND NEW Pure Flows. I would never experience NYC, Chicago or the Boston Marathon. I’d never again wake up early, do my pre-race ritual and toe the line at one of my favorite SF half-marathons. So I got depressed. Very depressed. So depressed that I went on Amazon, bought a Speedo bathing suit, swim cap and goggles to start my new career as an Olympic Swimmer. (That did actually happen and it will arrive tomorrow thank you very much 2-day Amazon Prime shipping.)
 
4. Bargaining
  • This happened on Monday. Well if I don’t run for 2 weeks then I’ll probably still be able to do the Us Half. Then, Okay maybe not the beginning of November, but definitely a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Followed by If I swim every day I won’t lose any fitness or hurt my foot and I can easily run a half in December. And then Worst comes to worse the Superbowl Half I’m signed up for in early February will absolutely happen.
 
5. Acceptance
  • The end result? I have no idea when my next race will be. I’ve accepted it – it’s reality and it’s happening. I won’t lie – that’s a pretty crappy feeling. I’m taking it day by day, I’m staying positive (when I’m not swearing in my car from slamming my hand in the door or yelling obscenities in my apartment after dropping a Vitamix on my thigh). I’m going to start swimming tomorrow (alternating it with biking and some sets of abs whenever I can) and just pray to the running/foot gods that I’m cleared to run by the New Year. I have a follow up with a specialist next Friday so FINGERS CROSSED EVERYONE. (Please just cross them.)

With that, GO GIANTS! and have a lovely Thursday evening!

Crutch + Boot + Work

I’m sorry I forgot to share with you all the #1 reason having a boot doesn’t suck;

HANDICAP PARKING PLACARD FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS.

This my friends, is San Francisco parking GOLD.

The two major perks?

  • The Whole Foods Parking Lot in Pacific Heights will no longer cause me road rage
  • METERS (I no longer have to pay for them… ever. OK, for the next 6 mos.)

Silver lining?

Today is my first day attempting this foot contraption combination at work. I’ve worked out in my head the logistics for getting to/from work in Silicon Valley and any incidentals during the day:

  • Begging Muni to drive me 4 blocks from my apartment to where my company’s corporate buses pick up (Today’s scenario went like this Me making a scene with my crutches: “I’m just going 4 blocks.” Bus Driver noticing crutches/boot/scene: “Uh yeah, just get on the bus.”
  • Work bus for an hour
  • Nicely asking co-workers to take my bag up to my desk while I stop off to pick up breakfast downstairs at the cafe
  • Nicely asking yet another co-worker to take my breakfast up to my desk while I wait for the elevator to go one floor upstairs
  • Planning 10 minutes ahead for all bathroom/kitchen/anywhere trips
  • Sucking it up and eating whatever is at the cafe downstairs because riding a beach cruise to another cafe with a boot and a skirt on seems ill-advised
  • Strategically planning how I’m going to get the 25 yards to the gym with my bag/crutches/boot in tow
  • Strategically planning how I’m going to get from the work bus back to my apartment after work if boyfriend isn’t home yet (begging bus driver to just drop me off)

The past couple of days boyfriend worked from home and was able to chauffeur me to/from multiple doctor’s appointments, going back and forth to the freezer to grab ice packs, making sure I’m elevating, Advil-ing, and staying off my foot. I literally can’t thank him enough, so I’m putting it on the internet where it will stay forever and ever. (Thank you so much, you mean the absolute world to me.)

This weekend I have big plans of…. doing nothing. I can’t teach my Sunday Pilates classes because I can’t move, so demonstrate lunging or anything else that involves standing upright seems to be a bit out of the question. (I did however sign up for multiple spin and sculpt sessions at a nearby studio to keep up my fitness in the upcoming weeks… and finding a pool is next on my list.)

I plan to catch up on TV, bike at the gym, bake, clean the apartment (which will probably take 2 hours to do in a 600 square foot apartment because of my lack of movement), and relax.

And just hope I can ditch the crutches by Monday. The doctor said to use them as long as I felt pain when bearing weight on my bum foot. I tested it this morning and let’s just say it didn’t feel like rainbows and sunshine and puppies.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Add It To The List

3 blog posts in 3 days. Guess who’s baaaack?

So where did we last leave off?

Oh that’s right, the two words no runner (or anyone really) ever wants to hear: Stress Fracture.

But it gets even better (worse?) my friends.

My sports medicine doctor called me this morning with my MRI results – it appears I not only have a confirmed Calcaneal Stress Fracture but also a severely bruised heel bone.

From what Livestrong.com has told me (and really, Lance Armstrong lie? not a chance), deep heel bruises result from microscopic calcium fibers breaking apart. These fibers are normally interconnected to help form bones, so when a portion of the fibers is damaged, a deep heel bruise, or deep “bone bruise” occurs. Also known as a periosteal bruise, this condition develops when the outermost layer of the heel bone — the cortex — essentially suffers tiny breaks. These breaks occur when the heel is subjected to repetitive and forceful impacts, usually from rigorous sports activities or strength training exercises.
So basically a series of tiny breaks on a fracture.
(Also I hope you understood the sarcasm of the whole Lance Armstong/lying sentence above.)
My doctor referred me to the Head of Podiatry at California Pacific Medical Center- basically my first thought was that you don’t see the head of anything unless it’s bad. Like on Grey’s Anatomy – you don’t see Derek Shepard unless you have a really dire neuro problem. (I also realize I’m probably the only one on the planet that still watches Greys Anatomy. I do, and I will… probably forever.)
I met with the doctor who confirmed what I already knew – stress fracture in my heel, bruised bone. Then I got fitted with this little number:
(Please ignore the eroding toenail poster in the background. And note my NWM Finisher Shirt. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me.)
This my friends is my new best friend for the next 2 (godwilling) – 3 weeks.
As soon as he told me how to “inflate” it with air it immediately reminded of the Pumps shoes we had growing up. I never had them but always wanted a pair.
Not really what I had in mind.
In conclusion, the next 2-3 weeks of my life are looking like this:
  • Boot on whenever I bear any weight on my foot
  • Crutches as needed to bear weight
  • NO. RUNNING. Under any circumstance.
  • Biking/swimming/strength training OK (as long as I’m not standing)
  • Ice/Elevate as often as possible
  • Ice/Warm Wrap/Ice 2-3 times a day
  • REST (what does that word even mean??)

So I started off with this:

30 minutes on the bike – hill program – resistance 7 – 6.85 miles total

Took it nice and slow and finished off with a few sets of abs (done on my back – no weight bearing here.)

I got more than a few looks as I crutched into the gym, biked, then crutched over to abs.  I’m contemplating getting a shirt made (by shirt made I mean ironing letters onto a Cool Racerback) with the phrase “I HAVE A STRESS FRACTURE IN MY HEEL AND THE ONLY THING I AM ALLOWED TO DO HERE IS BIKE”.

That should get the message across no?

I’m hoping to break into swimming sometime this weekend or next week – ready to get my Michael Phelps on in the pool. And buy a workout appropriate swimsuit.

Hope you’re enjoying your night! (And cheering for the Giants! Unless you are from St Louis or Detroit in which case I completely understand why you wouldn’t care.)

 

Stress. Fracture.

So um, this happened today.

Oh yes my friends, welcome to the world of a Calcaneal Stress Fracture.

Basically, it’s a heel stress fracture. It’s a pretty common spot for runners to injure, and typically stress fractures are a result of overuse, and happen over a period of several months. I imagine the dull nagging of last week coupled with running the half on Sunday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Or heel in my case. (Or at least this is what I’ve been told from the wonders of the internet/the sports medicine doctor.)

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons agrees:

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone. Stress fractures often develop from overuse, such as from high-impact sports like distance running or basketball.

 

Most stress fractures occur in the weight-bearing bones of the foot and lower leg. Studies show that athletes

participating in tennis, track and field, gymnastics, dance, and basketball are at high risk for stress fractures. In all of these sports, the repeated stress of the foot striking the ground can cause problems.

 

Rest is the key element to recovery from a stress fracture.

 

The bone we’re caring about is on the lower left. You know the large one that helps you run.

The good: It was caught early enough that 10-14 days on crutches should be all I need. A return to running can than happen (albeit slowly.) I’m cleared for biking/swimming/strength training. What that means is that I will probably go out and buy a road bike, all of Lululemon’s biking gear and register for a century ride tomorrow while simultaneously joining a master’s swim team.

(Joking… kind of.)

The bad: Um no running for 10-14 days. That’s like telling Lindsey Lohan she can’t drink for 5 minutes. It’s that long. Goodbye Healdsburg Half Marathon. I hardly even knew you. Or your delicious wine tasting that would have happened at the finish line.

The ugly: The crutches. Need I say more? After 5 hours of these bad boys I’m more than ready for a boot.

The MRI confirmed that there is in fact a fracture. What happens next? The radiologist diagnoses me, sends my scans to my doctor I saw this morning, and he lets me know how bad is bad. Preparing for the worst (6-8 weeks in a boot) but hoping for the best (10-14 days on crutches/in a boot).

After my MRI I naturally did what any normal person would do when throwing themselves a pity party – I spoiled myself rotten. We’re talking pedicure, haircut, the works.

I also came up with a list of benefits to being on crutches. Try not to be jealous.

-Always get a seat at a bar/restaurant/what-have-you

-Convincing MUNI drivers to take me 4 blocks up the street to my bus stop just got easier

-Get really familiar with celebrity gossip magazines on the stationary/spin bike

-Get reacquainted with my swimcap and goggles

-Rekindle my high-school self and wear a pretty sweet backpack at all times

-Have dog owners feel sorry for me and quickly agree to let me pet their dogs on the street without throwing me wary/weird/creeped out looks

-Develop arms of steel

Any other suggestions?

I’ll leave you with some happy thoughts. This is Charlie. He’s almost a year old and he is the cutest, most adorable Golden Retriever since the one I met last week at work.

 

(Also if you can… go for a run tonight. It’s been 72 hours of no running and I’m already judging people as they run by me on the street. Do me a favor please and go out on a solid run… and enjoy it the entire time no matter what your splits/the weather/whatever is/are 🙂 )

Been A While

Oh hey there.

Been a while huh?

My life in the past 3 months has been exceptionally…. exceptional.

To put it simply, since we last chatted on… August 27 (motherofgod it’s been a while) life has included:

  • weddings
  • bachelorette parties
  • engagement parties
  • birthdays
  • Fleet Week
  • America’s Cup
  • SF Giants playoff games
  • pilates
  • running
  • work, work, work

Understand why I’ve been a little MIA?

But let’s focus on the running thing.

Leading into September I was feeling seriously overwhelmed with CIM training and the big goal that I had set for myself. I know myself well enough to know that if I put my mind to something I will not give up until I achieve said goal. My will power is freakishly strong and once I decide I’m doing something… I do it. No questions asked.

That being said, my days were frequently flirting with the 12-hour number (between commuting, work, commuting) and adding in an hour or so of running was leading me exhausted – physically, mentally and emotionally.

I started to re-think things.

After a lot of back and forth I decided not to run CIM this year. I also decided to run the Nike Women’s Half instead of the full, and to run the Healdsburg and US Half Marathons in October and November respectively.

The way I saw it, a Boston Qualifying time could happen in 2013 – when my job wasn’t so new, when I was more settled into a work schedule, and quite frankly when I could sign up for a race that I haven’t done before. Chicago and/or New York perhaps?

I started to mix in some biking with my running, continued to take pilates, and was hitting solid 8:20/mile paces on all of my runs. I felt fantastic.

Insert cruel irony here.

After an 8 mile trail run with Jaime a couple of weeks ago I noticed a nagging pain in my foot whenever I tried to run. Being a “smart runner” (HA) I listened and took it easy on mileage the 2 weeks leading up to the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I biked, I ran a total of 9 miles (sloooooow) the week before the half, and rested all day the day before.

I did everything right. So why is it now Tuesday, I’m having serious problems WALKING, my ankle is swollen, and I have an appointment with a sports doctor (is that what we call them?) for x-rays tomorrow to make sure I don’t have a stress fracture?

This is what happy fun running looks like (Giants Half Marathon this past September… that recap is also coming I PROMISE):

That is not how I’m feeling right now. It’s now been 2 days of no running and I’m literally ITCHING for a long run. Like I would pay someone large sums of money to magically fix my foot so I can run. Give away my entire Lululemon wardrobe to be able to run.

Okayyy that was drastic and untrue. I would never do that. Then what would I run in?

To come? Giants Race Recap, Nike Women’s Race Recap, and um… do I have a stress fracture in my foot recap.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’ve been toying with changing the name of this blog to reflect more of my life aside from running (biking! pilates! wine! SF! food! etc!) and that’s going to happen at some point. (Full disclosure when I figure out how to use the internet in all the tech savvy ways you’re supposed to know about when you have a blog.)

(Also if you’re able to go for a run today do it so I can live vicariously through you. Seriously. I won’t even be jealous. I’ll just be happy that SOMEONE IS RUNNING while I’m sitting on the stationary bike reading Marathon by Hal Higdon and pretending my sobbing tears are just sweat.)

I’m kidding. Kind of.

Happy Tuesday!

Treadmill Half-Marathon

I really got after it last week. (Promise I’ll have a training recap up tomorrow!)

After being wounded on Monday’s run, and several applications of Neosporin, I woke up Tuesday morning at 5:45am feeling about 90%.

Naturally I deemed 90% damn good enough to hit 6am Pilates- and with the exception of some knee twisting, I was on-the-ball for the entire class. True I got hit with a few shots, but I was not longer walking with a limp (See what I did there 50 Cent?) and therefore the next appropriate thought was towards my long run of the week.

Last week’s long run jumped up to 13 miles, and I was planning to do it Saturday morning. Then boyfriend’s mom invited us to the Giants game Saturday afternoon. I know myself well enough to know that after a long run I’m pretty much deemed useless for the following 12 hours and prefer to lay in a stationary position on the couch while stuffing my face with whatever available gluten-free carb is within reach.

Then my company announced a celebration party on Friday evening (a certain acquisition just went through and it’s nice to celebrate!)

It was becoming increasingly clear to me that getting up at 7am to run 13 miles and then afterwards having to able to function in public on Saturday just wasn’t going to happen.

It’s also becoming increasingly clear to me that after driving home for an hour, no exercise will ever happen so I force myself to workout at the gym at work instead.

I did what any sane person would do.

I took to iTunes, rented The Hunger Games on our iPad, trekked to the gym at 5pm on Tuesday, and hopped onto the treadmill.

I set the speed to 6.8 mph (8:49/pace) and pressed play.

And 1 hour and 50 minutes later, after completing 13 miles, I (in so many words) hopped off the treadmill. I will also add that I was ready to eat my arm off I was so hungry.

But none-the-less I had completed my long run. And after a day of 6am pilates, a commute, and a full day at work. I won’t say that it was the best long run I’ve ever done, or even that it was particularly enjoyable (it wasn’t, even while watching Katniss kick some ass), but I did it, and I feel stronger for it. Plus, I did it in just about the exact same time as my fastest half-marathon, which I was pretty darn happy about after just 3 weeks of marathon training (and several nights of, *ahem* beverage consumption at weddings).

My point here is that yes running on the treadmill is (generally) less-than-ideal for most runners. I’m probably of the 1% that actually like it because I can zone out on my Kindle and be a freak of nature while reading a novel. But it is useful for building up mental stamina and powering through boredom. And compared to running on a hamster wheel, no matter what race you’re training for will be a lot more exciting.

Besides that mental strength really comes in hand right around mile 22 in the marathon. Trust me on this one. I started talking to myself at that point telling myself that “You have 30 minutes of running left. Modern Family is 30 minutes. You always whine and complain about how fast that goes by. JUST KEEP GOING.”

Hope your week is off to a great start!