Sunday, September 30, 2012


I played tourist (sorta) in DC this weekend.

Good morning, Washington Monument.

The Reflecting Pool recently re-opened after being closed for renovations since 2010. It needed it badly. The pool collected gunk, plus it leaked a tremendous amount of water. The grass needed re-sodding. It was a national embarrassment. Now, the pool has been redesigned, resurfaced, and refilled. A system was put in place to pump water in from the Tidal Basin and Potomac River and re-circulate the water. Except ... the pool is filled with algae. There is so much algae in one end that you can't even see the bottom of the pool, and there is a layer of algae on the bottom of the entire pool. I guess it is better. I could do without the greenish tinge to the water, though.

Looking at the Lincoln Memorial

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking toward the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol

PT Part II - The Beautiful Letdown

Bonus points if you get the song allusion in the song title. The band is coming to my area this week!!

I'm going to post this because the last time I complained about the pesky ankle and angry tendon, things felt better. Go figure.

I went through 4 weeks of PT. Ran out of appointments. The angry tendon, or something else, is still angry. Isn't this where I started?

The angry tendon felt better, and then it didn't. It felt better again, and then it didn't again. Yet, I couldn't replicate what is causing the pain in PT. Movement doesn't hurt. Doing nothing (sitting around, lying in bed) hurts. It's more like an itchy, irritated, aggravated feeling than actual pain, but it is near constant. Or at least daily.

I think what happened is that I had a physical therapist (not the one I usually see) dig into the angry tendon and not surprisingly aggravate it. The angry tendon was tender to the touch for nearly 2 weeks. Today was the first day in a while where I couldn't feel the angry tendon when I woke up. That's good, I guess. Maybe I just need some time to rest. And not see that physical therapist anymore.

Now I wait and see for a week or two and go back to the sports doctor. I don't know if there is something seriously wrong or I just need more PT. It would be fantastic to know what's really going on.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Working It

Another week, another workout post. What else is new?

Sunday - one hour yoga podcast. Same one as last week. Got the pose guide out. It was hard!

Monday - 35 minutes on the bike. And PT. Another 1 mile on the anti-gravity treadmill.

Tuesday - 40 minutes on the bike, plus about 1.5  miles walking at lunch. It was nice out!

Wednesday -  Rest, mostly. PT is not quite really rest, right?

Thursday - 40 minutes on the bike, upper body strength training, core work, pushups, and squats.

Friday - Rest. Mostly. Walked about 2 miles total.

Saturday - Rest. Work got in the way. Eh. It's the first and only time this has happened, and it is not likely to happen again anytime soon. I did walk about 3.5 miles while on a break. It was a beautiful day to get out and walk around DC.

Total miles: about 1.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Down the Injury Spiral

It's been a while since I first realized I was injured. Early July.

There was some bad behavior for a few weeks. I was cranky. And still eating like I was training for a marathon. And not exercising as much. And not sleeping as well. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It became painfully obvious that I could not run Marine Corps. Even if I got better quickly, I wasn't going to have enough time to train properly.

Not gonna lie. It was really hard to back out of a race. I have never backed out of a race. Knowing it was the right decision didn't make it any easier.

In some ways, I was relieved. I didn't have a training schedule I have to stick to. I like sleeping in on Saturday morning and having all of Saturday to do things. I didn't have to go running in the hot humid summer. I had a decent amount of traveling recently, and I hadn't adjusted my schedule to accommodate being on the road.

But in some ways, I was worried. Running is one of my mental health strategies. I know I am crankier without running. Yes, I am still exercising, but it is different than running. Other activities don't produce the same endorphins. I was not sleeping as well. I couldn't keep eating like I was training for a marathon when I was not, in fact, training for a marathon. I added some extra fluff (still within my normal weight range, and I probably had a few pounds to add back from my spring training cycle). However, it took me from early July to now to get my my eating in check and to stop the scale from slowly creeping up.

Part of the mental health thing is exactly that. Mental. Your attitude has a lot to do with how you feel. No, you cannot always be in complete control of your attitude. But you can be aware of it and try to change it. In some ways, it is very much like a skill that you practice in long-distance running. Tell the negative thoughts to shut up and focus on the positive (say, for example, mile 18 of the Chicago Marathon) where I realized I wasn't going to reach my A day goal and decided to focus on going after a PR and getting more bang for my buck by being out on the course longer). OK, so I'm not getting my running endorphins. Moping about it won't make things better. Yes, it is OK to miss running. Especially now that we are getting hints of fall. I know it is in my long-term best interest to not run at the moment. Now, I am OK with that. Really.

I cannot control being able to run or not. I can control how I feel about that.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Working It

So of course I post about ankle pain and poof. It seemed better the next day. And then it wasn't. Again. I had a really tender to the touch area near the angry tendon after PT on Monday (where, coincidentally, I saw a different physical therapist). I am not sure whether it was always like that and I never noticed, or PT did something to make it unhappy. It is Saturday and while it is less tender than earlier in the week, it is still tender to the touch. Stupid angry tendon.

Anywho. Here's the workout roundup.

Sunday - one hour yoga podcast.I usually string together 2 or 3 20-minute podcasts, but I had one whole podcast that was just over an hour. I am out of yoga shape. And I need to find the pose guide the next time I do this one. There were some poses that weren't well explained.

Monday - 40 minutes on the bike, and PT. Ran about 1.5 pain-free miles on the anti-gravity treadmill.

Tuesday - Overslept on a day when I wasn't planning on getting up early anyway. I guess I was tired. Did upper body strength training at lunch, then core work, squats, and pushups later on.

Wednesday - 35 minutes on the elliptical. Haven't done the elliptical in a while (last time was in a hotel gym in Florida, and before that ... I couldn't tell you), but the only working bike in my apartment complex gym was taken and the elliptical didn't bother me. Also had PT. Ran again on the anti-gravity treadmill. A little over a mile. Not too bad.

Thursday - 35 minutes on the bike.

Friday - Rest.

Saturday - 60 minutes on the bike, plus lunges and this hard-to-describe PT exercise that I didn't do at my session on Wednesday.

Total miles: about 2.5

Sunday, September 16, 2012

PT Update

I am 2 weeks into at least 4 weeks of physical therapy.

My eval appointment and first week went well. No one tells you that PT hurts. Oh boy, does it hurt. But then you feel better. The near constant pain went away. Immediately. I could run across a street with no pain. No, not actual running. Just enough to make the light. That hadn't happened in a while. I got a list of stretching exercises to do on my own. I bought a hot-cold pack so that I could get some heat on my ankle. I put Superfeet inserts in my running shoes.

Second week. Eh. Not as good. I started getting pains in the beginning again. But only when I was doing nothing. Not exactly sure why, but I think I spent too much time walking around barefoot and jumping up and down a chair to put stuff away in a closet. Dumb move, self. Don't do that again. I did get run briefly on an anti-gravity treadmill. Very weird. I have lost a lot of endurance. It was good to run, though, even if it was partly assisted by a pressurized bubble.

New week, less pain. If I were writing this yesterday, it was a different story. Today is better. Ahh. I was diligent about wearing my running shoes all the time (at work, at home) and more mindful about what I do with my feet while I am sitting. My ankle is still hurting. But it's a different kind of hurt. It's achy but feels stronger, if that makes sense. I guess that's good?

Apparently, I have some mechanical problems. A problem with the structure of my right tibia (it's supposed to turn more than it does). An imbalance in my hips. The main issue is that my right foot does not stay straight when I run. I land with my toes pointing outward and then flick my toes outward when I pick up my foot. This puts a strain on that tendon on the inside of my ankle. My left foot stays straight. Huh. That makes sense. I can see this in the wear patterns on my shoes. But only on the shoes that I started wearing in April. After I moved to Washington, DC. Mad hillz yo are not good for my ankle.

My physical therapist told me I am not built to be a runner. Haha. Really? That is a stupid statement. I'm pretty sure the rest of my body is built to be a runner. Unless I was just lucky that I have made it this far ...

What I think happened is that switching to running in Rhode Island (where I was mostly running flats) to running in DC (where I was not mostly running flats) exacerbated whatever was going on. You know how you aren't supposed to change anything too abruptly in running? That includes switching from running 20-30 miles a week on flats to running 20-30 miles a week on mostly hills. Not a smart idea. You need to transition gradually. My other theory is that my ankle was gradually getting worse and I compensated by doing other other things. Runners are stubborn, so it takes a while for us to realize we are injured, something is wrong, and we need to stop running. Enter the month of June.

Where I go from here, I am still not sure. I still not cleared to run and don't know when that will happen. Maybe soon? I might get to run on a treadmill this week. Correct whatever imbalance is causing the problems, figure out how to get my right foot straighter, stretch more, and don't run on hills.

That's more difficult than it sounds.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Working It

I skipped a weekly recap post last week because ... I didn't really work out.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Travel and house hunting (!?!) and PT appointments and PT exercises took up a lot of my time, plus I had a cold with a nasty sinus headache and just wasn't feeling it. Normally, colds don't upset my workout schedule. But since I didn't have a set schedule, I just went with whatever I felt like doing. That meant resting, mostly.

This week, it looks more like a regular old week. Minus running.

Sunday - Rest. Wanted to do yoga but had a jam-packed day.

Monday - Yoga and pushups. Haven't done yoga in several weeks because it had been hurting my ankle. But most of my PT exercises involve stretching my calf and soleus (the little muscle above the ankle and below the calf). Yoga does much the same thing.

Tuesday - Rest, unless PT counts as exercise. Too tired to get up early to exercise and had to go to PT in the evening.

Wednesday - 35 minutes on the bike.

Thursday - 40 minutes on the bike, plus PT. Got to run on an anti-gravity treadmill. Maybe about half mile. Weird!

Friday - 35 minutes on the bike in the AM, then upper body strength training at lunch.

Saturday - 60 minutes on the bike, plus core work, pushups, planks, lunges, and squats. Haven't done a 2ish hour workout session in a long time.

Total miles: .5. No, that is not a typo.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to School

Or not. No back to school for me. This is the first time since I was 3 years old that I am not enrolled in school, teaching a class, or working in an educational setting. Of course, the place where I work is in some ways like a university. It was relatively quiet over the summer. Things are already picking up.

Am I sad to see the unofficial end of summer? Not really. We got another blast of summer this week. I can't wait for the cool crispness of fall. Not sure when that will happen in DC, but it will happen eventually.

Am I sad that I will not have a fall racing season this year? Again, not really. Yeah, it was tough to bail on Marine Corps. But it is one of the few races where you can bail and transfer your bib to someone else. Road races aren't going anywhere. I am hopeful that I will be back out there soon. PT is helping. I am not cleared to run yet, but I get to try running on an anti-gravity contraption this week (yay!). And I still have my eyes on Boston for 2013.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Working It

Same old same old. Still trying to exercise by doing what I can. Taking some extra rest.

Sunday - a little bit of walking, plus core work and pushups.

Monday - 35 minutes on the bike.

Tuesday - 40 minutes on the bike.

Wednesday - Rest, and my first physical therapy appointment.

Thursday - 35 minutes on the bike in the AM. Upper body lifting and squats at lunch.

Friday - 35 minutes on the bike, plus some swimming later in the day. Well, more like playing in a pool.

Saturday - Rest.