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Injury Update & No NYC Half

March 15th, 2014 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (2 Comments)

I’m a bit glad I was too lazy to write this post until today, because now I’m actually feeling pretty optimistic about the state of my posterior tibial tendinitis. If I had written this on Wednesday or earlier, my frustration at lack-of-improvement would have made for a pretty whiny post.

 

Now, I’m still frustrated as I haven’t run in 18 days and am unsure of when I can officially ease back in, but Thursday was the first day I actually felt a noticeable improvement in level of pain (!!!!!) Most noticeably, I can now walk kind of normally without sharp pain or compensating to avoid putting weight evenly on my left foot. There is still dull pain in the tendon and my plantar, but it’s definitely not excruciating like before.

I’m not out of the clear yet, but I am hopeful that it’s moving in the right direction. For about two weeks, there were zero signs of improvement– sometimes even worsening– despite not running, constant icing, stretching, ART/Graston, and trying to stay off it as much as possible. My frustration was beginning to turn into a bit of despair at not knowing how long this was going to take– another week? Another month? Another four months? I still don’t know how long it’ll take to fully heal, but this drastic improvement helps the light at the end of the tunnel seem a little closer.

So, needless to say I won’t be racing the NYC Half Marathon tomorrow as anticipated…for the second year in a row due to injuries. It’s depressing to total how much money I’ve spent on entry fees for races I haven’t run (Chicago ’12 and ’13, NYC Half ’13 and ’14, Philly Rock ‘N Roll Half ’12 and ’13…the list goes on) My collection of t-shirts for races I haven’t run is growing quite impressive! And let’s not get started on the doctor and PT co-pays. Since I’m currently funemployed, this one stings a bit more.

However, I love to run and compete. It keeps me motivated and feeling most like myself after all these years. There are bound to be ups and downs. I wouldn’t say frequent injuries are typical for me, because I’ve never been this chronically injured my entire running career, but I’m unfortunately in a ‘down’ phase now. If getting back to the ‘up’ means spending $$ to get healthy, it’s worth it to me.

Since I’m hoping to be healthy for Boston on 4/21, I’ve been trying to treat this injury pretty aggressively and give it the rest it needs. I don’t care if I am completely out of shape and undertrained, I want to be able to run (not race) Boston pain-free and experience the day on the course. I think I’ll be majorly, majorly bummed if it turns out I’m stuck on the sidelines.

So I’ve been seeing Dr. Levine for ART & Graston twice a week (highly recommend!), and just started to see a new-to-me PT, Marisa at Dash PT. Along with wanting to kick this tendinitis, I decided I’d like to get to the root of why I continue to get injured so frequently lately. I don’t think I’ve been able to run more than 3 months consecutively over the last 1.5 years; I’d really like to figure this out so I can finally stay out of the doctor’s office and stay on the roads. 

Marisa noticed I have pretty narrow feet with high arches– something I have never been told before. I’m not sure if this is the whole injury picture, but it is likely a large piece of the pie. I’ve been running in custom orthotics since I was 17, which I get re-cast every few years. The orthotics, combined with my not-narrow-enough shoes, weren’t supporting my arch enough. From how I understand it, when the arch is unsupported, it puts more strain on the tendons around it and your bones, muscles, etc. This likely led to my tendinitis and probably my stress fracture in the fall, too. (Note: clearly I’m not a doctor or PT, but this is generally how I’ve understood what she’s told me! I could be totally misinterpreting it…oops)

I’m not sure why my custom orthotics weren’t supporting enough, but I last had them cast in 2011 (I think?) so perhaps things have just changed over time. An easy fix is to insert in one or two of these stick-in arch supports atop the orthotic. Also, I should wear sneakers in a narrow (2A) width versus regular (B) width. She explained that most female runners with smaller figures probably need to be in a narrow shoe more often than not, so it’s worth getting checked out if you feel your foot isn’t getting the stability/support it needs if the shoe is too wide. Until I get my shoes, she showed me how to lace up my current sneakers to provide a bit more support– they just go up a bit higher into those loops that nobody typically uses.

photo 1 (2)She’s also helped to tape me up a bit to provide more support for my arch and the tendon, which has really helped the severity of the pain while walking!

Lastly, she gave me the green light to try cross-training if it didn’t hurt my foot. For the first 12 days or so, I hadn’t even attempted to cross-train because I was too scared to make it worse. I’ve found that easy biking doesn’t hurt, and today I was finally able to elliptical without feeling anything. Hooray! I’m not doing it frequently or long enough to maintain or gain fitness, just enough to break some sort of sweat more often than not. 40 minutes seems to be my mental max before I want to gauge my eyes out when cross-training.

So, I’m hoping for continued improvement. Unsure when I’ll be back on the bridle, but it’s beginning to feel like a near possibility. For tomorrow, I’m excited to cheer on my friends and teammates running the Half! I’m planning to be around 34th street on the WSH– near mile 8.5. Good luck to everyone racing, it should be a beautiful day!

The Game Plan

November 21st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

As I write this, I’m somewhere 30,000 feet above Newark and Phoenix, en route to sunny Santa Barbara, California for Thanksgiving. (edit: And now posting on my layover in Phoenix!) I booked my flights with a combination of frequent flier miles (all that work travel pays off, somehow!) and credit card rewards points, since Thanksgiving travel is outrageously pricey. It was an equal number of miles to book economy or business class for my outbound flight, so of course I chose business class and was pleasantly surprised upon check-in to have been upgraded to first class. What? Me?! It made the 6:30 am flight time (and 4:30 am wakeup call) slightly more bearable. Now I’m just waiting on my complimentary breakfast and booze…

Anyways, thanks so much for the kind welcome back to blogging. It always amazes me that anyone actually reads this, and actually cares about my ramblings of running mile after mile (or, more recently, not running). It’s awesome and I truly appreciate the support!

While I’m still in the stage where I’m running however long I want to, when I want to, I’ve been looking towards the future and mapping out a racing calendar to get motivated. In fact, I haven’t raced since Boston or Big Sur in April. Before my big goal race in March, most of these races below will serve as training workouts to get me back in the racing game, mentally more than physically.

January 5th: Joe Kleinerman 10K

  • Because I hate racing 10Ks and can’t think of a better way to torture myself after the holidays and New Years. Self-inflicted hazing?

January 19th: Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery

  • My friend Veronica actually won it last year (badass!) and mentioned it’d be fun to do. My friend Terence lives in Sayville, so a few of us are going to go out to his house and make a weekend of it. A race that ends at a brewery with free beer…sign me up! (Says the girl who is supposed to be avoiding gluten, whoops.)

January 27th: Manhattan Half-Marathon

  • ‘Cause what’s more fun than paying to run 2 loops of hilly Central Park in the winter? I kinda bandited part of this race 2 years ago when it was 14 degrees as part of a long training run, willingly, because I was so crazy sick of running alone. Will probably be my first really ‘long’ tempo effort.

Something Awesome in February

  • I want to run the Cherry Tree 10 Miler again in Brooklyn, but I’m pretty sure it’ll fall on President’s Day weekend when my friend Ely is getting married back at Villanova (!!!!!), which is 10x more fun than any race. Open to suggestions for something else fun during this month!

March 17th: NYC Half-Marathon

  • Quite simply, I love this race. Haters can hate on NYRR and the ridiculously steep price tag (my bank account sure does), but I have such happy memories associated with this race and can’t wait to do it again, especially with a new (hopefully faster) course since I last did it in 2011. I didn’t run it last year because I got back from a work trip reallllllly late the night before, and was in the midst of Boston training. This will be my big Spring 2013 goal race. It just feels right. My story…
    • It was my very first post-collegiate race (and first half-marathon!) back in 2010. After 8 straight years of training and competing regularly in high school and college, I was still in that weird “kinda burnt out on racing and don’t know if I want to do this anymore” phase. I hadn’t raced in almost a year, and had never raced anything over a 6K in my life, so I didn’t do any workouts and went in with minimal pressure on myself. While I ran 1:29 and accomplished my goal of auto-qualifying for the NYC Marathon, more importantly, I found I really did love racing and competing again. Running was something I wanted to challenge myself with again.
    • In 2011, I had one marathon under my belt and had gotten more serious about training. I knew I could take down my 2010 time easily, but I totally underestimated myself and ran a 1:24:23, which still stands as my PR. I negative split that race and still remember how awesome it was to drop a sub-6 mile down 7th Ave and into Times Square, smiling and pushing my way down the West Side Highway. I can only hope I’ll be able to recreate that experience in March, this time a little faster.

While I haven’t signed up for the majority of these races (with exception of the NYC Half, booyah guaranteed entry), they’re on my radar and I plan to sign up as soon as registration opens, barring any work/personal plans that arise. Just mapping things out has already created some direction and re-sparked motivation that’s been lacking for quite some time. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon past mid-March, but I’ve got some ideas brewing depending on how the next few months go including (re)attempting Chicago in October if I’m feeling up to it.

While looking ahead to these races and how I’ll get fit again and train to PR, I’m trying very hard not to get frustrated with the health problems I’ve been having. I know my body and myself and can tell something has been off for a while. I had a good visit to an endocrinologist at NYU last week, and while it means multiple blood tests to look into a few things, I’m hopeful we’ll get a little closer to figuring it out once the results are back. I want to get back to competing at my best, but my body isn’t at its best right now. And honestly, it feels a bit out of my control to get it back to its best until I figure out what’s medically wrong. Until then, trying not to Google-diagnose myself with a billion different things…

No, but really.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I’ll be enjoying a few well-deserved days off work with the family, eating turkey and drinking wine to my heart’s content. And you should, too!

What’s on your racing calendar? Any other fun NYC-area races you’d suggest I look into?

Finally, the long-anticipated NYC Half-Marathon Recap!

Where do I begin? I finished! And I rocked it in 1:24:23! It was a great way to kick off my birthday (did I mention Sunday was also the big 2-4?) and made it totally worth delaying the drunken celebrations to the following weekend and going to bed at 10pm :)

I had a few key learnings that may help recap my experience of this race:

  • Keep it low-key & set low standards (haha, really): Going into this race, my B goal was to run around 1:28 and my A goal was to run around 1:27:30. When I realized was running a bit faster than goal pace in the early miles, I had to do some mental pep talk to not freak out that I’d crash and die later on. Once I saw I was maintaining and feeling strong through 10K, I decided to keep rolling with it and staying steady. The turning point was at 9 miles when I realized I could likely run around 1:25 if I didn’t fade out too hard. This was so exciting and really kept me going since I was ahead of my goal. Sometimes its kind of really mental! If I set out to run a 1:25 from the get-go, I think I would have been disappointed and worried early on. Low standards for the win :)
  • Fuel before your body shows signs of needing it: I knew there would be gels between 9 and 10 miles, but by the time I got there last year (I had never taken a gel before last years race), I think my body was already feeling it and I had nothing to give the final miles. This year, I packed my own gel to take right after the 10K mark which propelled me through much of the 2nd half; either mentally or physically, it worked. I also took a gel at the 9.5 station but really hated whatever brand it was-kinda gritty/pulpy and too thick so I could only take half of it.
  • I just can’t master water stops: I need to work on how to effectively grab water cups and take them without slowing to a walk, spilling all over myself, and choking as I drink/gasp for air. Any tips? Run laps up and down the block with a mock water station to practice? Hah.
  • Enjoy the moment! Sometimes I get so caught up in hitting splits I forget to enjoy the fact that I’m running through amazing places like Central Park and Times Square! As I headed down 7th Ave I finally gazed up and got those little butterflies of enjoyment. We wouldn’t do this if there wasn’t some joy in it, right? I also dropped a 5:45 minute mile through Times Square; I know 7th Ave is a long, slight decline but I also know it was because I was actually having FUN!

Here are my (approximate) mile splits using Garmin with self-splitting each mile. Miles 10 and 11 are all screwed up since I thought I missed the 10 mile mark but actually hadn’t gotten there yet and pressed it too early-whoops!

6:27 pace overall; disregard miles 10 and 11

Happy to see I definitely had fuel in the tank left to majorly drop the pace the last 2 (.1) miles, definitely was psyched up to break the 1:25 barrier.

And some fun race shots!


Laura & I picking up bibs at the Expo

Race morning: ready to go!

Mom and I after the finish!

Steve, Laura & I post-race! Go NOVA!

Dan, Steve, me and Laura post-race; The Villanova contingent

And lovely birthday flowers from Dan & my Sister :)


What’s your favorite part of a race? Do you take in the scenery or get too caught up in the moment? I need to do a better job at this, would probably help me take my mind off the pain! I am excited to rest and recover a bit this week, and then it’s on to training for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon on 5/21!

T-4!

March 16th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

First off, let me say how much I missed my favorite green monster smoothies for breakfast each morning! I got on a kick a few months ago but finally restocked my soy protein powder from Whole Foods this weekend, so this week I’ve been kick-starting my mornings with this filling, protein-packed smoothie.

Green Monster!

I swear it tastes better than it looks. Green monsters are a very easy way to sneak in spinach as the flavor is masked entirely by the banana and almond milk. In my mix:

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 scoop soy protein powder
  • Few handfuls spinach
  • About 1/2 cup almond milk, enough to blend it
  • Spoonful chia seeds

I cannot believe race week is here and I’ll be running the NYC Half-Marathon this Sunday! Sunday is also my birthday, and I am strangely ambivalent towards both which makes me a bit nervous.

I am just not as “amped” for this race as I should be, and can’t really pinpoint it. Though I’ve been feeling better physically than I did a few weeks ago, I don’t quite feel sharp and fit as I expected to be. The hay is in the barn (weird saying…) and all I can do at this point is eat well, hydrate, stay healthy/injury free and rest with plenty of sleep!

I’ll put my goal time out there again, even though I’ve been second guessing it and saying writing it makes it real. I want to run under 1:28, if not 1:27:30. Because I need a bit of self pep-talk, here are the reasons I think know I can do this:

  • I ran 1:29:35 last year at this race on less mileage and no tempo/speed work
  • I split 1:29:36 halfway through this years NYC Marathon…and felt relaxed
  • Since early January, I’ve incorporated one tempo/speed session per week to help me feel more comfortable with race pace, one of my last ones was 6.2 hilly miles around the outer loop at 6:31 pace!
  • My ferritin levels are not low according to my blood test (34, which was normal/high for me…my lowest was 8 once) so I have no physical reason/question to doubt myself
  • The weather forecast says Sunday is rain-free and SUNNY…you know ill be obsessively checking this till race day!

    Sunday=Race Day

When I went home this weekend, I had two GREAT runs where I was able to really push the pace on one, and finish really strong on another. Sometimes you need runs like these for affirmation.

Saturday- pushed the pace for a strong-feeling 7:09 average

Sunday- started easy and dropped the pace last 3 miles

When is your next race? How do you balance staying relaxed for a race with not letting yourself get tooo relaxed? Do you need to do a little self pep-talk like me? :)

Will Run for Red Velvet

February 14th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I am actually off work today, taking an extra “rollover” vacation day from 2010 before the end of February. And what a perfect day to take off…it’s 50 degrees outside and I pushed my long run to today to take advantage of the weather and free time.

Last week I hit 55 miles total for the week, complete with a 14 mile long run Sunday and a great tempo run on the treadmill on Thursday:

  • 1 mile warmup @ 7:30
  • 2 miles at race pace @ 6:40
  • 1 mile recovery @ 8:00
  • 3 miles at race pace @ 6:40
  • 1 mile cooldown @ 8:00

8 miles total. This run was a bit of a confidence booster because I’ve been doing tempo/speed work around a 6:45 pace, and had originally just planned 2×2 mi segments. I was feeling not-as-bad during my 2nd interval, so pushed to make it 3 miles instead. Must have been the new Lady Gaga song on my ipod :) My legs also felt a bit looser since I did an easy 2.75 mile shakeout in the morning. I find short shakeout runs can help get the blood flowing before a hard effort, and is a good way to bump up mileage.

55 miles has been my highest mileage week so far preparation for the NYC Half-Marathon. Think I’ll get in another week or so around this level and then drop down so my legs feel fresh for race day on March 20th! After all that running, I had a fun food-filled weekend.

On Saturday, Dan and I went to go see “No Strings Attached” (so good!) and then headed to Whole Foods to get ingredients and toppings for “Make Your Own Pizza Night” This was such a fun and easy dinner, though my tiny NYC kitchen needed a bit more counter space to accommodate us both. I forgot to take pictures of the actual hot pizzas (did I mention we drank about 2 bottles of wine, too?) so the leftovers have to suffice.

Dan's Pizza: Chorizo and Mango Jicama Salsa!

My Pizza: Breaded chicken, herb mushrooms, spinach and onion!

 

This was so easy and fun! We bought whole wheat pizza dough and went to town on the toppings. One big dough ball was more than enough for the two of us, I only ate half of mine and now have leftovers for lunch this week!

Yesterday I took advantage of the warmer weather and headed out for an easy 6 mile run. I had an appointment down in Soho so ended up wandering around the Village afterwards, and met up with my friend Dayna for Frozen Yogurt. As much as I love Pinkberry, I LOVE Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt places 1000x more! You can choose between tons of different flavors and toppings and design your own creation.

We went to Phileo Yogurt, not as good as my fave 16 Handles or Yogurtland [please come to NYC!] and I had a wild mix of Cupcake Batter / Cheesecake / Lemon Tart yogurt topped with Cheesecake bites, gummy bears, mochi, rainbow sprinkles, skittles, and mango. Random. Delicious!

I came home and got started on a bit of Valentine’s Day baking. Because what’s Valentine’s Day without heart-shaped desserts?

My mom had given me Sprinkles Cupcake mix a while back so I figured I needed to make the red velvet ones!

This mix called for mass amounts of butter which I was extremely happy about.

I also had to make them in heart-shaped cupcake tins :)

Topped with cream cheese frosting!

I had to sample a cupcake (or two) of course…just to make sure it wasn’t poisonous ;)

If you’re looking for a cupcake mix, your taste buds will thank you for picking up Sprinkles. These were the most fluffy and moist from-a-mix cupcakes I have ever had. I think you can find them at Williams Sonoma. I also have a tin of the lemon flavor which I think I will make for a wine tasting party I have coming up this Friday. MMM.

Well, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine and get in 14 or 15 miles. Hope I work up an appetite for dinner tonight at The Melting Pot tonight (get in my belly, fondue!)

How are you spending Valentine’s Day?

sNOw Excuses

January 16th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (0 Comments)

Those of you in NYC (or really, most of the East Coast) will probably agree that the snow we received after Christmas and last week has overstayed its welcome and needs to melt away! Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the snow first falls and I even love running while its snowing, but after two weeks of sliding/tripping when trying to dodge snow piles on street corners and being confined to the Central Park drive instead of the dirt Bridle Path…it’s time to melt away.

Nonetheless, the snow isn’t an excuse to not run outside! If anything, it makes it a little more exciting and ‘wintery’ feeling. I am one of those people that would rather run outdoors in the cold, rain, heat, etc. than on a treadmill (aka dreadmill) but I understand some people do prefer to get their miles on inside and that’s just fine.

A coworker recently told me she is training for an upcoming marathon and has been doing all of her running on the treadmill because it’s too dark and too cold outside in the morning. She’s even done 17 miles on the treadmill. While at least she’s getting in her miles, and I applaud her for having the mental stamina to be able to run on a treadmill for that long, I tried to encourage her to try running outside at least part of the time. The sun rises around 7am or so, and if it’s cold, just layer up a bit more. Especially for a marathon, you need to be physically and mentally tough; getting outside in the winter mornings is hard but ultimately when you stop making excuses and get on with it, you’ll see results.

Here are some of my quick tips for training outdoors in the winter:

  • Run in the mornings or afternoons, if your schedule permits. At least it’s lighter than later in the afternoon or at night. I love night running in the summer when there are more people out and it’s cooler, but in the winter I’d rather get out in the sunlight and before I just want to get under the covers and watch TV at night!
  • Layer, Layer, LAYER! Dress as if it is about 15-20 degrees warmer outdoors, as your body will heat up once you get moving. I typically wear a DriFit short-sleeve or tank top underneath a DriFit or thermal longsleeve. I love half-zip tops because you can zip up if it’s a bit chilly and then unzip as you warm up. DriFit helps keep you warm since it wicks away sweat. Avoid cotton which holds on to your sweat and may make you chilly.
  • Reward yourself for getting out the door: Pick something to treat yourself to if it’s especially hard to get out the door. What’s waiting at home when you’re done, a warm shower, a latte, warm oatmeal for breakfast? Whatever you choose, make yourself earn it! I admit I often treat myself to 20 minute hot showers after especially chilly mornings.
  • Set concrete goals: I am very goal-oriented. I map out weekly mileage goals to hit and constantly track how much remains as we go through the week in order to hit that number. That goal number is easier to work towards day by day rather than saying “I want to run a lot this week”. I also have a certain time goal I want to hit in my next race, not just “Oh I want to run fast..”. I know each day I get out is one step closer to that certain time. Each day I skip my run out of laziness is one step further from that goal. Sign up for a race, challenge yourself to a weekly or monthly mileage goal, etc. Identify a goal that you can work towards and you’ll be thankful for those chilly runs once you reach those goals!
  • Plan around  the weather forecast. Here’s the weather forecast for this week in NYC:Given this forecast, I will probably plan my day off for Tuesday since there it calls for freezing rain. May as well be outside on the nicer days, and choose those days to go a little longer, and keep it a bit shorter on the days that aren’t as favorable. Keep flexible, though, because we know the weathermen don’t always get it right :)

I guess at the end of the day, whatever works for you to get your miles in is better than nothing! I would just urge others to stop making excuses on how cold or dark it is in the winter and try to enjoy outdoor running– it’s really not that bad!

Central Park in the Snow! source: fromme-toyou.tumblr.com

That said, I do have to make a disclaimer. I recently turned to the treadmill to start my tempo run training. It’s easier to control my pace, and I have only done a 4 and a 5 mile tempo so far since I am building up. I’ll definitely return back out to the roads for my tempos in a few weeks once I get a better gauge on what pace is best for me! I loved doing tempos on the Lower Loop in Central Park while training for the Marathon and need to revisit that soon.

Here’s how my last 2 weeks have played out in preparation for the NYC Half-Marathon March 20th. I track my weeks Sunday through Saturday, like a calendar. I also aim to run 6 days/week, with 1 rest day.

Week of 1/2: Reached goal of 40 miles

  • Sun: 8 miles in late afternoon, started to drizzle towards end
  • Mon: 6 miles in am, went to gym for lifting/core in pm
  • Tues: 6 miles in am
  • Wed: Treadmill 4 mi tempo +1 mi warmup/1mi cooldown. 6:58, 6:58, 6:44, 6:31. Afterwards, went to Hatha Yoga class.
  • Thurs: Day off :)
  • Fri: 6 mi in am
  • Sat: 8 mi in afternoon

Week of 1/9: (Barely) surpassed goal of 40 miles for 40.5 total

  • Sun: 10 miles, longest since Marathon to date
  • Mon: 5 miles in am
  • Tues: Treadmill 5 mi tempo + 1 mi warmup/1mi cooldown. 6:58, 6:58, 6:44, 6:44, 6:31. Afterwards, did lifting/core
  • Wed: Day off :) Planned this just in case of snow.
  • Thurs: 4.5 in am. Legs sore from tempo & think I’m getting sick…
  • Fri: 8.25 in late am home in NJ– random day off work. Afterwards, did lifting/core.
  • Sat: 5.25 in am

Do you like to run outdoors or inside better in the winter? What are your tips and tricks for making it easier to get outdoors when it’s cold?