Running, Sweet girls

Another running injury

For a decade now, I have identified myself as a runner.

I’m not a crossfitter or a cyclist or a walker – I am a runner. I run. I have shoes specifically designed to run. I have a running partner who apparently is as crazy as I am because she and I like to run at 5 a.m. in my pitch-black dark neighborhood.

Running, like any type of exercise, has its own community and own sense of words – fartlek, PR, intervals. How’d you do in your last half marathon? Oh, I made it in right under 2 hours – and you, as a runner, know what that means. You as a non-runner can understand a bit, but a runner who hears that knows if that halfie runner is faster or slower than you. You know the amount of time and effort that went in to prepping for that half marathon. You know how limp that person’s legs must feel right now – they feel like gelatin.

For the past three weeks, I have not been able to run.

It started mid-January, when I hopped on an athletic club’s treadmill and started to run. Immediately, I felt a sharp, unyielding pain in my right knee. It was not some random pain or one that I thought I could ignore. I sometimes, to Kyle’s chagrin (and probably most medical professionals’), “play through the pain,” but I couldn’t this time.

There happened to be a trainer nearby, so I asked him his thoughts. He, as politely as he could, suggested that it could be that I hadn’t warmed up. I tried hard not to scoff, as I never warm up (which, of course, may be a problem, but I digress).

He also suggested tendonitis.

I tried warming up. I walked for five minutes. My knee didn’t hurt at all walking, but the moment I started running, the pain returned.

So I stopped.

Last week, I actually went to see a PT, who also determined that I have extremely weak hips, which could be adding pressure to my knees. Therefore I started hip strengthening exercises.

So for the last three weeks, I’ve rowed a little on a rowing machine. I’ve done the elliptical. I’ve lifted weights. I’ve done Zumba. I’ve done everything that hasn’t made my knees hurt.

I haven’t run.

Running has always been the easy exercise, the one I could burn 300 calories in 30 minutes and add a piece of cheesecake to eat after dinner. I could burn 500 calories in under an hour. But – only running is not good. This is coming from a self-identified runner, too. I’ve always known I needed to cross train, to participate in other activities. But I haven’t because it’s just been easier to run.

Now that’s come back and bitten me in the rear.

I’m trying to enjoy other exercises. I like running on my lunch break. I like doing Zumba on the TV in my bedroom. I love rowing (go figure). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing something different and not feeling the pressure of getting a certain mileage in every week because I physically cannot right now.

But I do so miss running.




What do I do without a treadmill?

During December, I noticed my treadmill skipping. It’s happened before, but Kyle has been able to lubricate it with silicon and fix the issue. When I noticed the problem last month, I told him about it, and he set to fixing it.

Only this time, when he lubricated the belt – it didn’t fix the problem.

Have I mentioned that I’m a lazy runner? I really am. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but I run to eat. I enjoy waking up, hoping on the treadmill and running while watching my TV shows on my phone. Then, when I run 3, 4, or 5 miles, I jump off, head in the shower, and am ready for the day. I know I can run 3 miles in 29 min, 4 miles at 39 minutes, and 5 miles at 49 minutes. Outside, it varies. One day I can run 3 miles at 28 minutes – the next day at 33. It’s not consistent. And while it’s not a big difference, I do like the uniformity.

Having a treadmill, for me, is super convenient. First off, I don’t have to worry about weather. Rain, ice, or snow – I don’t worry about it. Because I can run in the warmth when the weather is below freezing, or when it’s storming outside, or, more often than not in Louisiana, when it’s hot as Hades.

Then, there’s the issue with children. I run a lot during their naptime, which is helpful when Kyle’s away.

Lastly, I don’t have to worry about dogs chasing me when I run on the treadmill. And, if you’re a runner, you probably know this is often an inconvenient issue.

That being said – my treadmill went on the fritz mid-December. And Kyle’s maintenance didn’t fix it. So what was I to do?

Well…run outside.

Again, most runners do run outside. Most runners hate the treadmill, and for good reason. It’s repetitive. It’s boring both because you don’t move and you don’t have inclines or declines. You can’t really run with a partner on a treadmill.

But – it is easy to get miles in.

I have been running less, that’s for sure. Turns out when I’m working, I actually am more productive in all aspects of my life. I thrive on structure and predictability, and over the Christmas holidays, we really didn’t have a lot of either. But I ran, often with a running partner, and I even found myself enjoying the sub-freezing temperatures (29 degrees is sub-freezing) and even the hills. (Though I did not like the one “naked” run I had to do without a partner and without music – quite boring.)

I ran solo on Christmas and had a doe and two fawns run right in front of me in the middle of the day! I felt my strength improve as I ran the piney hills of my neighborhood. I caught up with my running partner, who I generally only get a chance to see when we run.

It was good. It was grand.

But I did miss my treadmill.

Running, Uncategorized

The 10k

Our city held the Rock Island Greenway 10k and half marathon a couple of weeks ago, covering grass, asphalt, and trail. Kyle and I both ran the race – it was our first race together since the Warrior Dash in 2012 (pre-kids) and his first 10k ever. So, in other words…


We arrived at the race super early. I say super early because I mixed up the times of the races. The half marathon began at 7:30 a.m. — the 10k began at 8. So we froze. FROZE. Guys, I’m from Louisiana. I’m not all into standing impatiently this 40 degree morning weather.

Freezing before the race began

But when the race finally began — oh, it was great! Racing invigorates my love for running. I can feel completely burned out from running, wondering why I would ever sign up and pay money to run, and then the event begins. And all those negative thoughts get pushed aside as I remember why I love racing. Running together with a large group of people, everyone cheering each other on, knowing that you’re running some long distance — it’s a great rush. And I love the individual competition for most individuals. I’m not trying to win a race. I’m competing against myself, no one else. So there’s a camaraderie with most runners. During the race, I had several people say, “You’re doing great! You’ve got great pace!” Well, well. Let me just deflate my head a bit so I can keep up that great pace.

The hill we started the race on — and that’s Kyle finishing the race and running downhill on it.

I will say, though, I certainly felt my ill preparation for the race. I had spent most of my time inside running on a treadmill (#lazyrunner). I had the distance down, but I did not have the elevation. This race STARTED on a hill — not just any hill, either, but a hill I generally avoid in my own running routes because it is a beast. But that’s okay — the race had just started, my adrenaline was pumping, and I went slow. Slow is never really how you want to start a race, but it was necessary with that huge hill.


I usually will use the MapMyRun app when running so I can work on my pace, but my phone was a little squirrley that day, so I opted not to use the app, which actually messed with my time. Remember that awesome pace I had? Yeah, it was awesome — too much so. I generally will run a 10-minute mile. But I had a 5k pace of about 25 minutes — way, WAY too fast. And that definitely messed with me for the last three miles, which included  a one-mile upward hill (okay, okay, it was like half a mile…or at least a quarter mile — at any rate, it was awful).

My goal was to finish the 10k in under an hour — which would be hard but not impossible.

I finished the race at 58:34.

Despite the hills, the changing terrain, and my poor training, I still did it — I still finished the 10k in under 60 minutes. Definitely came close, but I succeeded and even finished sixth in my age group.

Kyle did great as well. For those of you who don’t know, my husband is a Type 1 diabetic. Running is a bit of a challenge for him because he has to watch that his blood sugar doesn’t bottom out during running. I was a bit nervous for him, but he completed the race with no problems.

And then to celebrate — well, we took a nap!


New 10k

I’m supposed to run a 10k this weekend.

I say SUPPOSED because it seems like races I have trained for since having The Artist do not often come to fruition due to injury. So I am hoping to run a 10k, 6.2 miles, Saturday.

It’ll be the first race I’ve run in over two years.

I’ve run inside on a treadmill and outside in the hills of our town, in my neighborhood, and around the lake at our parish park. I’ve run solo and with my running partner, in the morning, afternoon, and night – well, okay, maybe not at night. I hate running at night.

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To show you a comparison, this is my mileage from July, August, September, and October.

I haven’t run six miles yet, but I’ve run several five-mile routes. I ran 20 more miles the month of October than I did in September (and, by the way, haven’t lost a pound – but that’s probably because I really, really like my dairy and carbs).

Over the summer, I ran three miles at a time. I really didn’t venture higher in mileage than that. Summer was hard to run. The kids were home with me, and by 2 p.m., my treadmill room, which has little air circulation, was hot. Plus, to be fair, by 2 p.m. during naptime, I was tired. I wanted to take a nap, too. I ran mainly in the mornings, but it was summer. I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work, so why would I do so to run? So silly.

This fall, though, Kyle decided to train for the 10k, too. And I’m a bit competitive in nature. Having him run four and five miles motivated me more, and I decided to train for the same 10k with him. It was hard at times, because for him to run, he has to wake up at 4:40 a.m. (Yes, you read that unholy time correctly.) But if he was waking up at that hour to run outside, I might as well wake up at that time to run inside.

I have always been of the school of thought that you shouldn’t increase your mileage more than 10 percent each week. But I did. Instead of running 12 miles a week, I started running 16 or 17. And, maybe because I started stretching more (though I am in no way consistent), I haven’t had an injury – yet.

And I am so excited about this race. Signing up for this particular race cost $30 – Kyle, whose longest race before now has been a 5k, couldn’t believe it was so expensive. I, on the other hand, couldn’t believe we got such a steal. It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess.

Something about standing with a bib number, feeling the jittery nerves, and hoping that you PR – it just is so exciting. You stand there, ready to race with hundreds of other runners, but, at least for me, we’re running together. I’m not competing with anyone else; my only competition is myself.

And for this particular race, my competition is a new PR. My last 10k PR was 1:08. I am not a super speedy runner by any means, and I was pregnant with The Artist at my last PR. This year, though, my goal is to make it in under an hour. And, if I don’t – well, that just means it’s time to start training for another race.



Trying to run

A long, long time ago, I used to run half-marathons.

In high school, I never was a runner. Ask my tennis coach. Exercise wasn’t really my thing, but I did like playing tennis. I just didn’t like to run.

Running came to me during a difficult part of my life, when two of my biggest concerns were starting a Ph.D. program and my husband being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, among several other issues. I ran to keep the stress at bay, and it worked. I ran my first half-marathon in the early spring of 2010, and I followed up the next two years with two more half-marathons.

However, in the spring of 2013, I had a baby: The Artist. She was sweet and she was wonderful, and before she turned 1, I had plans to run another half marathon.

Then I broke my tailbone. That whole incident deserves its own post one day, but suffice to say, I was out of running for months after that.

No problem, I thought. Time went by, I healed, and I started to train again, this time for a nearby race in November 2015. I got all the way to the week before the race. I was finishing up my last long run and was getting ready for the taper week.

And then I busted up my foot.

“Busted up” truly is the best way I can describe it. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but not only could I not race the next week, I spent the week prior to the race getting an X-ray, a CT scan, icing, downing ibuprofen, and having to even cancel a work trip to Las Vegas (and, really, who wants to do that???). The day of the race, I was a hot mess of emotion.

And that Wednesday, I found out I was pregnant again.

So between two babies and two injuries, it’s been hard to keep running up. Before The Engineer was conceived, I was easily running 20 miles a week for fun. Now, I’m lucky to hit 12.

Which, before you roll your eyes, I KNOW THAT’S PRETTY GOOD. Every thing is based in comparison, though, so compared to what I used to do, it’s a bit disappointing. I’d be happy to hit 16 a week, but it’s hard. Either a child is sick or I’m sick or I’m not sleeping well or a million other excuses hit. But, I am proud to say that the past three weeks, I have run four times a week, which is my goal. I may not have hit the mileage I want, but I laced up my shoes and ran four times each week.

We all need goals – even exercise goals. Heck, because my back hurts because apparently I’m old now (I had a student last week refer to my age as “middle aged” without knowing that WAS my age), one of my goals is to stretch 10 minutes every day. Now, granted, I haven’t done that in a week, but that’s beside the point. We need to plan goals, even if it is just stretching 10 minutes a day (which, again, I haven’t done in a week…).

And it does take planning – especially if you work and have kids. Heck, when I was off this summer, I thought, “Hmm, I can basically run any time I want – morning, nap time, or night time.” And you know what happened? I was lazy and slept in every day and then by nap time and night time, I was too exhausted to run.

PLAN. Plan with me and plan reasonably. If you don’t exercise at all, make a goal to walk half a mile every day. That’s like 10-15 minutes a day. Get the kids involved. My girls love doing yoga with me – you know, the two times a month I do it. But they love it, and they love doing it with me.

And if you need a running buddy, I know some good ones in the area. =)