Injured runner: New year, same me?

I’ve gone back and forth with “I have so much to update you on!” to “Meh, nothing new to write home about.” This constant up and down feeling with my recovery along with the fact that wedding planning has started to consume a majority of my time and energy, has now left me with frantically typing up my first post of the year on the last day of January.

What’s new?

My knee got cupped for the first time at PT today! (It kind of hurt).

Yes, I’m still going to PT but this was my first visit of the new year.

Basically, I have been keeping up with my PT exercises (more or less) and have been doing 20-25 minutes of slow running anywhere from two to four times a week. Some runs are better than others. (I did go on one 34-minute run which ended a bit painful).

So, my threshold is running no more than 25-ish minutes for now.

Oh, and remember how I fainted and fell last November? (No?!) Well, I hit my arm (inner elbow area) and at the time it didn’t hurt (after the bruises went away). But, “suddenly” now this month I am experiencing soreness and minor pain in the elbow area when I do certain actions like carry a basket of groceries or have my arm bent for an extended period of time. I went to the doctor just as a precaution and the doctor suggested I wear an arm brace (just below where the pain is) and come back in two weeks. The brace seems to help with the soreness (but is it just in my mind?!)

Needless to say when I walked into PT today, my physical therapist jokingly asked me if I was there to see him for my knee or my arm.

“My knee!” I said. “I don’t care about my arm!”

I just want to get back to fully running … I can do that without a fully functioning elbow, right? 🙂

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New year resolutions for the injured runner

New year resolutions seem good in theory but I don’t know if I really stick to them. I usually come up with a list of a few goals at the start of each year, but I also change the goals throughout the year as the months change and the shape of my year also changes.

Here are my current goals. Note, that at this time, I know I won’t be running again for another four months or so.

  1. Do at least 20 minutes of strength and core each day — Yes, you read that correctly. Every day. I gave up on my walking goal since Seattle has gotten so freaking cold! I started this new goal on Jan. 9 and have so far stuck to it. What honestly helps me do this is following along with random YouTube videos. I just do a search for “core workouts” and do whatever comes up. If you have any specific video recommendations, please send them my way!
  2. Join the YMCA before February — Regardless of when I can run again, I need to continue working out and cross train. Swimming is my “substitute” to running. And, once I am running again, I will continue to swim as cross training days. (Something I never did regularly before and will help in my plans to never be injured from running again!)
  3. Continue journaling — I used to keep a “dear diary” type of journal. No, I did not write “dear diary” but I had been keeping journals since I was in sixth grade. I’d just write about what happened that day and my feelings. I didn’t write daily but was very consistent with it. About a year ago (so even prior to getting injured) I stopped for some reason. I guess I just got too busy. I was tired of always writing “I’m feeling tired” countless times in my journals. Now my plan is to not write the details and all my feelings of the days, but to just write one sentence (or more if I feel like it) to describe one positive thing that happened that day.
  4. Read one book a month — This is really hard for me. Bryce always jokes that I never read. But, I guess it’s true so it’s not a joke? I enjoy reading but always say I don’t have time. I’m going to make a habit of reading before bed or instead of those minutes where I am aimlessly scrolling through social media on my phone while I sit at home, I will pick up a book instead! This is honestly going to be my hardest goal of them all.

I know I’m late to the game in establishing my new year goals. But hey, better now then never, right?

New year, same injury?

I know, I know, it’s the 15th day into the new year and you haven’t heard a single peep from me! Where have I been? How am I feeling? What are my new year resolutions? What’s up with my running injury?

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I rang in the new year with my family in Japan and came back home last week. We visited my grandma and it was a nice, relaxing vacation. So, that’s why there has been no blogging from yours truly.

And, of course when you are away from home for more than a week, there is always all the laundry and grocery shopping that needs to be done upon your return. Not to mention, the added jet lag when coming back from Japan!

So, here I am, trying to catch up on my life.

I went in for my MRI — this time with contrast — last Thursday morning. Getting the injection for the contrast into my knee was a little more uncomfortable than I expected it to be. My hands were sweating profusely as I waited for the doctor to prepare. But, it was over quickly and I guess it didn’t hurt that much now looking back on it.

The MRI part was the same as back when I had my first one in August. This time I was smart and decided to listen to music when the tech offered. I opted for classical music because it seemed like the type of music they would play in the movies when the lead actor is going in for a medical procedure — and yes, I understand that mine wasn’t “a procedure” but a mere MRI, but I run this show here!

I felt more relaxed this time (probably because of the calming music!) and know so because my quads were not sore the next day like they were after the first MRI!

I’m scheduled to see my doctor Tuesday to go over the results from this MRI. I really hope I have concrete answers that are along the lines of, “Kristin, it looks like your stress fracture will take one more month to heal. The pain you have been experiencing is just phantom pain. In another month, you can ease into jogging and then running again.”

That one month I threw out is just arbitrary. I’d like to be able to run sooner but my whole desire at this point is that I want a concrete timeline. If I know it will be one month or even three months until I can run again, at least I will know and can mentally plan and prepare for what’s next.

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However, if I am given news that the stress fracture is worse than we thought and that I have to have surgery, well, I’m not sure how I will handle that news. So, I’m not going to worry and stress about that until I absolutely must.

It’s a new year and I’m hoping with all my heart that my injury is a thing of the past. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed. 2017, give me something good to talk about!

Being an injured runner who doesn’t act like an injured runner

I know I’ve been a little mopey lately.

My posts haven’t been the most uplifting and positive of posts.

But, I’m here to turn another page, to start another chapter, to begin anew.

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After all, September is the new New Year!

And being mopey and sad can only get you so far bring you down.

I’m going to be the injured runner that people don’t even realize is injured. Because I’ll be busy doing other exciting fun things!

I’m going to read more. So far, I have only read three books (and one was the screenplay to the newest Harry Potter story). I’m looking to train my brain during this break time from running.

I was also at my parents’ house the other day and opened my violin case for the first time in over a year. I was never a child prodigy when it came to the violin but I wasn’t half bad. I mean, I started taking private lessons when I was 5 and continued until I graduated high school! It is a little sad that I stopped playing, but now also seems like a good time to get a little vio playing time in!

Besides reading and practicing remembering how to play violin, I am going to do something that can often be difficult to do when you are marathon training: going on a trip abroad!

My tickets are booked and I’ll fill you in on the details later. Let’s just say I’ll be visiting a high school friend in the Eastern Hemisphere in a country I have never been to before! (So exciting, right??)

I guess being injured isn’t all that bad. It’s how you treat it that determines how bad it really is. I’m realizing that this injury is giving me more time to do things “I should do” and the things I want to do but “can’t do” when I’m in serious marathon training mode.

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Vancouver Marathon 2012

Plus, not only is this time off allowing my stress fracture to (obviously!) heal, it is also a time to give my body — and mind — as a whole a break. It’s a time to rest my entire body, as Joanna reminded me when I first found out I was injured.

So, I’ll be making several pitchers of lemonade over here and forgetting about that stress fracture (for the time being).

Hello, 2016

Hey there, 2016.

You sure surprised us with some amazing weather and sunsets and frost/snow to kick off the year!

After a day-and-a-half of spending time with friends on Camano Island, I am tucked in the corner of a coffee shop (with Bryce sitting next to me doing work), and thinking about this brand new year.

It’s a clean slate.

I haven’t made any mistakes. I haven’t failed at anything. I haven’t hurt any feelings. I haven’t stepped on any toes. I mean, that I know of …

But, instead of thinking about what I haven’t done, let’s look at what I have planned to do.

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My main goals of 2016 are running-related.

  1. Break 4 hours in a marathon.
  2. Complete my first 50K.

How will I go about achieving these goals?

  1. Train my heart out for the Anchorage Marathon. This will include focused strength and core training and foam rolling every day that I run. I will cross that finish line with at least a time of 3:59:59. Joanna will be doing the race in June with me so I’m thankful to have a training partner (and racing buddy, hopefully!) along the way.
  2. Once registration opens for the Chuckanut 50K trail race, I will register. Then, I will train and race run my first 50K ever in March. Scary! Phyllis and I will be running the Orcas Island 25K (as volunteer sweepers) at the end of this month, so I hope to have a good base going and can ease right into 50K training.

Why I am scared:

  1. I don’t want to fail at breaking 4 hours — again. I have failed twice already. (Once horribly at Portland two years ago, and a second time not-so-horribly at Eugene last year. I guess Oregon state just won’t give me a break!) I’ll be having a pretty long training cycle for Anchorage (I’ll explain why in another post,) so it would be devastating to put so much time and effort and to not reach my ultimate goal.
  2. I’ve never done a 50K before. It will be the longest distance I have run on trail or road! The unknown is pretty scary. But, I’m still more scared about sub-4’ing than I am completing a 50K!!

Don’t you have any non-running related goals?

Yes, I do. Thanks for asking. Here are a few that I will share with you:

  1. Learn Ruby on Rails (type of coding). I work on the web team in my marketing department and while I do not need to know coding for my job, my boss felt it would be good for the two of us to have some background knowledge on it. And, I agree! Plus, it’s fun to learn new things and to have another skill up your sleeve, right?
  2. Get serious about my finances. I keep putting this one off. And, by no means am I neglectful with my money. But, after having four other jobs before my current one that have had 401K or 4013b options, I have little pockets of money everywhere and need to sort out what is what and combine some things or not. Basically, get organized with my finances!
  3. Read one book a month. I love reading but most people probably think that I hate it. (Rare for a writer, I know). But, the thing is, I am always so busy running or writing, that reading gets bumped down to the bottom of my list. I end up re-reading the same chapter of a book three times because I forget what is happening each time I pick the book up after a 2-3 week hiatus. This gets exhausting. So then, I move onto a new book, or rather, a new first chapter of another book. I honestly think that last year I read 1 to 2 books in their entirety … I plan to change that this year.

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Of course, I have a few other goals/resolutions but I don’t want to bore you with how I am going to be the ultimate version of myself this year.

What are your goals running or otherwise? What are you looking forward to this year? What challenges will you face? Whom or what will you pull strength from?

Take some time to think and reflect on some of this. I’m sure most of you already have. And, let’s all rock 2016 together.

I’m ready.

Until next year

Things have been crazy, chaotic and fun.

My parents’ house has been bursting with lots of energy — like, 11 family members full of energy.

It’s been fun.

But, now I am settling back into reality packing my bags.

Because, next up is visiting my grandma.

Looking forward to good Japanese food and even more family time to ring in the new year.

I don’t know when I’ll have Internet access again, so if it isn’t until a few days after 2015, well,

Happy New Year.

Let’s make it a great one.

This too shall pass

One of my colleagues had to come into work yesterday even though she wasn’t supposed to work. She forgot an important file on her desktop. I had looked in the system for the file so she wouldn’t have to come in, but could not locate it. After searching herself, she realized that it wasn’t saved.

On top of many other stressful things going on, she said she was just happy the month would soon be over.

I’m with her on this one.

While nothing extremely horrible has happened this month, it’s had a dreary presence.

Let’s start fresh, February.

Besides, it is the new year now anyway, right?

Happy Lunar New Year.