October 25, 2012

Who's got two thumbs and healthy bones? This gal!

I'm just a hypochondriac.

Seriously, that was my ortho doc's official diagnosis. He said my MRI looked fantastic, no sign of a fracture, and the radiologist who compared it to my February MRI said it looks like my bones have calcified more. Yes, Viactiv and vitamin D3 (and 7-8 months of solid rest) are the winning combination! I should be at 100% now.

So why does my hip hurt? Maybe it's a result of stretching and working things that haven't been worked in a while. It definitely feels better since I haven't run in 10 days. But it's still achey and creaky and sore and stiff. The doctor suggested that I find an activity that doesn't hurt. Uh, thanks.

I think I'm going to continue my couch to 5K plan because you pretty much can't get any easier than that when it comes to running. But I'm going to try to make myself be OK with taking unplanned rest days instead of sticking to a training plan religiously. Maybe I need more than a day or two to recover from a run. Maybe I should be doing more swimming and elliptical training to give my joints a break. {No pun intended, of course.}

I've decided that next week, I'm going to get a personal trainer who can show me some strength training exercises and stretches that I can do. I've thought about this for a while and never done it because I'm always too busy, too scared of the gym, or whatever, but it's well past time to get serious about strength training. I have asked my doc about physical therapy, and he doesn't think it's necessary. But my right leg atrophied surprisingly fast while I was on crutches, and it's not back to normal. My calves are different sizes, which is painfully obvious when I wear capri pants. {My pants get hitched up on my healthy runners calf, but slide easily over my puny right calf, so my pant legs always look different lengths!}

So I need to rehab my weak leg, but I also need to build strength all over, just to make me a better runner and to prevent injury from happening again. Maybe by the time it's tank top season again (and hopefully that won't be next week), I'll have biceps!

What do you do to stay strong and prevent injury? 

October 22, 2012

That Old Familiar (Injured) Feeling

My hip hurts. Again.

My couch to 5K plan went great for a few weeks, but lately, I've had pain in my hip, and not the getting-back-in-shape, good-for-you kind of pain. It feels like it did back in the winter before I found out I had a stress fracture.

I'll be the first to admit that I was totally paranoid about every little twinge after I stopped using my crutches, but after several months of taking it {probably a bit too} easy, I was feeling like my old self. The pain was gone, and all that was left was some muscle weakness that I'm still working through. Running was fantastic, and I felt pretty confident that I was OK. So about two weeks ago, I started focusing more on strength training and stretching because my right leg is still so much weaker than my left, and both my legs are insanely tight from sitting around all year. I've done lunges with no problem for the last couple of months, but after spending a few minutes in warrior II pose, my hip started aching all the time and even waking me up at night. I wouldn't think one yoga workout would cause damage, but something definitely changed, and I'm worried I've reinjured myself. I blame Jillian's Yoga Meltdown.

I've backed off my running regimen, which was already super easy, and am just biking and elliptical-ing. I saw my ortho doc last week, and he did new x-rays and ordered an MRI and a new bone density test to see if I'm making any progress with my old lady osteopenia. My x-rays were beautiful and he said my hip looked strong and there was no indication of a fracture. Yay! But it still hurts.

So I spent the afternoon here, napping in an MRI tube.

This one didn't require an arthrogram, thank goodness, so I was able to snooze right through all the clanging around. I go back to my doc on Thursday, and we'll find out the results. Until then, I'm just a big ball of stress and grumpiness. Maybe I'll have to stop running, which makes me feel fat and left out of all that is fun in the world. Maybe I'll end up on crutches again, which might make Trea want to move to a hotel. Regardless, it looks like my Turkey Trot dreams might be shattered since I'm already falling behind on my training plan.

My hope is that the tests will be normal and I can get back into my pretty pink Brooks by the weekend. But my achey hip is doubtful.

And for your Music Monday listening pleasure, I've had Benjamin Gibbard's new album, Former Lives, on repeat since it came out Tuesday. It's not running music, but it matches my mellow mood. And it's Ben Gibbard, who can record no wrong and is simply amazing. "Lily" is my favorite.

October 15, 2012

Music Monday

Fall is finally, truly here! It seems that just overnight, leaves have started turning vivid hues and my favorite running trails have been transformed into beautiful canopies of color. I'm starting week 5 of couch to 5K, and although my breath is labored and my steps are heavy, I love every second of being outside. I know gray, cold days are just around the corner, so I'm trying to soak up as much as I can of this mild, pretty weather.

Autumn path

What else is getting my feet moving? Music, duh. This week my fave is The First Single by The Format. It's not new, but it's new to me. And hand claps! Need I say more? Check it out. (This video isn't exactly a video, but it's the best I could do because copyrights are no fun.)

The Format - The First Single (You Know Me) from sara amato on Vimeo.

October 8, 2012

Music Monday

Some days I love running, and some days it takes all my willpower to lace up my pretty pink shoes. But one thing is constant -- the right song can motivate me when I'm feeling lazy tired and get my feet moving.

This is the first of what I hope becomes a weekly series as I challenge myself to find a new song every week to add to my running playlist. I'll warn you that I usually don't have mainstream music taste, and my playlist picks might seem odd to some. I pride myself on not being able to identify one single song by Ke$ha, and I'm even questioning whether I can even make myself publish this post using a dollar symbol to spell a word. I'm a 90s kid through and through, and I was raised on Southern classic rock. I'm addicted to AltNation, and if I like anything that happens to be on a Top 40 list, it's because I heard it a year ago on NPR way before you ever considered thinking it was cool. 

And at the same time, I'll admit I like some lame-o songs. I may be a snob when it comes to bubble gum pop and the Top 40, but I'm also a sucker for folk. Luckily for you though, folk singers rarely rock a beat I can run to. 

So be prepared; my workout tunes can be a bit different. I give bonus points to songs that include whistling and/or hand claps. Extra bonus points for trumpets. But today's pick is pretty obvious, and it's what's motivating me to get out the door right now. I'm loving Marathon Runner by Yellow Ostrich (though I couldn't be more confused by this video). 

What songs are getting your feet moving this week? 

October 2, 2012

Starting Over

When I started my vacation series of posts, I casually mentioned that I signed up for a 5K. But this is actually a really big deal. Because of this and this. It's been a long year, y'all, but I think I'm finally ready to get serious about a training plan again.

I remember when I first started running in 2010 and how every single run felt difficult. I struggled almost every time I went out, and by the last run/walk interval, I always thought I was going to die. I've been dreading all year that starting-over feeling. But my return to running really is not the same as starting from the beginning at all. My muscles do burn, and my breathing is labored and loud, but my body remembers what it's supposed to do.

I am still a runner.

I love being back in a workout routine. Yes, I could've been in a routine a couple of months ago with biking and swimming, but there's just something about training for a race, having a plan and working toward a goal that has a deadline and a climax. Finding time for exercise is hard for me, but if it's for a race, I'll do it. I even stuck with the plan during work travel and ran by the bay in San Francisco!

Race day is Thanksgiving Day, and I have about 8 weeks to whip myself into shape. So far, things are going really well. Trea is on board and training with me every step of the way, and it's so good to be back out on the road with my best running buddy. I'm following this training plan, and it's proven to be a little bit too easy at times, which is a fantastic feeling.

Click the photo to enlarge
I started at week two, and I only ran week two's workouts twice before moving up to week three, which is where I am now. Week three calls for 1:30 running, 1:30 walk, 3:00 running and 3:00 walk, repeated twice. After Trea and I finished that workout the other day for the first time, it didn't feel like we had done nearly enough, so we tacked on another 3:00 run -- uphill. And it felt great.

I know I'm not going to PR this little 5K, and I'll just be happy to finish. But I am beside myself with anticipation thinking about picking up my race packet, getting up early, pinning on my race bib and lining up beside my fellow runnerds. I can't wait!


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