Monthly Archives: January 2010

Hiking: Healing the soul and the soles

I’ve been a little absent lately. I know.  Things have been insanely busy.  And I’ve been stuck in a bit of runner’s limbo which doesn’t help.  This shin is really a pain (pun intended).  I’m doing everything right so I keep thinking it’ll go away.  Aside from running a few miles last Tuesday I’ve been swimming, cycling, and doing pilates.  Iceing is a constant part of my daily life.  I’m ready for this to be over with.

When things become a little overwhelming in my life I like to for a hike.  So that’s exactly what I did this weekend.  I believe that trail running is the absolute best transition from injury to road – at least for me.  I used to never understand how people could run on these trails and swore if I ever did I would trip and fall within 5 min.  And I have.  But you just brush yourself off and keep going.  Usually Fox and I run the trails at Great Falls, but we mostly walked this time.  He’s a weird dog.  He hates going on walks usually, and can’t stand sidewalks.  I usually have to drag him the 50 meters down the towpath to the trail entrance.  But the second he gets on a trail he lights up.  For a dog with bad legs and hip dysplasia he never ceases to amaze me with his scrambling abilities.  He refuses to walk upstairs to the bedroom but leaps over boulders.  Needless to say, we had a great hike on Saturday.  It’s always nice to get a little fresh air.

 

The Fox

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In Loving Memory…

Yesterday I wrote about whether or not I should run with my runners group that night, bad shins and all.  Well I did run.  And it was worth the soreness I’m feeling today. 

As I parked my car outside the running store we meet at in Chevy Chase I received the shocking news that my uncle had just passed away.  This was very sudden, and comes on the heels of my family rallying together to try and take care of my grandfather who is gravely ill.  My uncle and I had grown close the past 8 months.  For reasons I refuse to dwell on, he wasn’t around for most of my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.  He did, however, teach me how to drive a car, a stick shift, which I still drive today.  And he and my aunt reached out to me during the past year, taking an interest in my life which has meant more than they could possibly imagine.  The past month has been incredibly difficult for my family, but I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to spend time with him in Princeton over Christmas.  Aside from the unfortunate circumstances of why were together then, he looked good, was optimistic and ever so loving and gentle.  My uncle was a healthy man.  He was a surfer and a swimmer who never missed a day in the water.

Needless to say, I was stunned, shocked, confused. I had to get out of my car and just started walking. I felt helpless.  I didn’t know what to do.  It might sound weird to some people what I did next.  But it was the only thing I knew how to do at the time. I went for a run.

 My group was small last night, which was kind of perfect.  I didn’t say anything to anyone.  I wouldn’t have known what to say.  Running took on a whole new meaning.  And I’m wary of attempting to describe it, because I don’t think I’m able to.  But I ran out of necessity.  I ran because it was the only thing I could control, and the only thing that could free me.  I felt like I was screaming and crying all at once, without having to.  And during my last mile – uphill – I meditated on my Uncle Phil.  For me, that run was just what I needed.  I gave my all for 4 miles (8:47 m/m pace).  My shins, and now ankle, hurt, but I finished with a clear head.  It’s funny how running can mean so many different things, how it can sometimes be the perfect coping mechanism.  It was the perfect answer for me last night.  I’m now ready to reflect, and be the best support that I can be to my family.  I’m grateful for my health, for my ability to run, and now more than ever that I had the opportunity to get to know my uncle.

My Uncle Phil, always a surfer 1/24/52 - 1/12/10

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Mind Over Injury

So I guess you could say I’m getting a little frustrated lately.  I’ve always said that a huge chunk of this sport is mental, but I guess I’m a little confused how I’m mentally supposed to approach this.  I’ve been plagued with shin splints since 8th grade, when I ran the mile in gym class in sandals (whoops, forgot my sneakers) and a month later went to the doctor and told him I had bruises on my legs but I couldn’t see them.  That’s when I learned about shin splints.  They’re really annoying more than anything.  So why am I all distressed?  The lower part of my left leg (inner) has been giving me a hard time for about a month now.  I ice, I’ve laid off the running for the most part (a few miles here and there, but nothing the past 7 days), I’ve got a compression sleeve, do all my stretches, ect. But it’s still there.  Sometimes it’s fine, other times it’s annoying.  But here’s why I’m split:

  1. I’m still shaken up by my stress fractures last summer.  As an athlete all my life, who has taken more falls from a horse than I can even count (and some of them pretty harsh), I’ve never been injured like that.  What’s more, it took about 4 months to heal, and to be honest I still haven’t fully come back from it.  I just haven’t been given a chance.  This thing popped up.  And I’m worried about something bad happening again.
  2. I’ve always thought of myself as having a high tolerance for pain.  Or at least being tough.  And I believe I’m being very careful in this particular situation.  But am I being too careful?  Am I being head shy?  Am I unnecessarily coddling my body when in all actuality I’m experiencing the exact same shin splints I’ve had for over 10 years?  Am I holding myself back when I’m fully able to buck up and deal with some slight pain (when I’m running I rarely even feel it)?

I obviously have no answers to these questions.  When my recovery from the stress fractures went on for so long my doctor uttered the worst possible words to me: “You know, some people’s bodies just aren’t cut out for running like this.”  I am trying very hard not to believe it.  After all, a year ago at this time I had never experienced any pain whatsoever while running.

I’m faced with a dilemma today, it being Tuesday and having a group run tonight.  I could not go, stick to the stationary bike I’m so bored of or go swim laps.  Or I can show up and only do 3 miles instead of the usual 6, and just see how everything is feeling.  I probably won’t decide until right before.  I’ll do the jump test and all.  I just wish someone could tell me if I’m blowing my pain out of proportion or if it’s real.

 I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.  Until then, I’ll be at my desk tracing the alphabet in the air with my big toe…it’s all about the ankle flexibility.

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Gift Wrap-up

Since I wrote a post about what I wanted for Christmas, I figured I ought to write a little follow up post.  Well wouldn’t you believe it, I must have been really good this year because I got everything on my list (except for Stanley, but I’m willing to extend Santa’s deadline on that one).  I’m loving my new Garmin Forerunner 350, Sugoi hoodie, Under Armour gloves, water belt, and all the other awesome gear I got.

I spent my Christmas break in the tri-state area: CT, NY and NJ.  And boy was it cold.  Aside from one slightly warmer day where I was able to get out and run the hills around my mother’s house, I was pretty much confined to the treadmill the rest of time.  But it’s just as well that I stayed away from any strenuous workout since my shin splints are giving me a real hard time and my 18-week marathon training plan begins this week.

So here you go.  Enjoy the pics of my presents.  I’m enjoying them myself.

Sugoi hoodie + new cycling shorts + Fox = happy holidays

Sugoi hoodie + Fox = happy runner

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