Tuckahoe 25K Training Has Begun!

I have not run at all in over a month, and not regularly since May. I kind-of trained earlier this year for the 8th Annual Run for the Animals Half Marathon, but nothing else. I signed up for a 25K trail race earlier this year (it was peer pressure!) which is to take place the first weekend in November. I figured it was time to start training as this trail race will be the determining factor as to whether or not I am going to sign up for the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon in 2020.  If I can’t finish a 15.5 mile trail race in the “hills” of the DelMarVa Peninsula, there’s no chance in hell I’m going to survive 34.2 miles in the volcanic mountains of Iceland!  And I really, really, REALLY want to do Laugavegur.

My training officially started yesterday, August 1st.  I did a mile after work.  It was a slow walk/run interval mile but I figured I’d wean myself back into it.  Today I did a 3.5 mile 2/1 Run/Walk and have to say that it felt pretty darn good.  Tomorrow I will do some HIIT training and weight training, and plan to get in at least 4-5 miles on Sunday.

I’m planning on sticking with the Galloway Method of running ever since my achilles injury. I feel so much better when I finish a run using the run/walk/run method.  I don’t get as painful, especially in the hips, and I just feel better overall during the workout.  I will also incorporate a lot more yoga while I am training.  I’ve been learning more and more every day about the practice and it just makes me feel so good!  It helps clear my mind, relaxes my body, and I feel stronger and more flexible when I’m finished with a session.  There’s so much truth to the “it’s all in your head” mentality when it comes to difficult tasks, and running a long distance, or any distance when you’re just not feeling it, can be a very difficult task.  I am trying to learn meditation while running.

Esme on a Cool Down Walk Off-Leash

Esme joined me for a post-run cool down walk off-leash today. She did AWESOME! She’ll be running with me in no time, once the weather cools off a bit.

Esme in Training

Working on running manners with Esme off-leash

I am looking forward to getting back into the running groove.  I’ve been out of it for so long now, it seems, that I’ve forgotten just how great it makes me feel.  Also, I am looking forward to getting Esme trained to run with me!  I let her join me for my cool down walk this evening where we worked on her not crossing in front of me, and especially her slowing down/stopping in front of me.  I think she’ll get it in no time.  She’s proven to be a very quick learner.  Her off-leash training is going very well, so we’ll work on off-leash running down our Neck when the weather cools down a bit.

Now I must spend the rest of my free-time working on my training schedule!  I have to manage every minute of my day if I’m going to successfully complete this training AND continue to blog… 😉

I will do my best!  Stay tuned…

One Step at a Time

Since my last post things have been uneventful, yet productive.  It took me about a week or so to finally come to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run any of my spring races this year, including the Salisbury Marathon.  Knowing this, I have been able to clear my head and focus on the road to recovery.

After running the 5K at the Tim Kennard River Run and waking to a re-aggravated achilles tendon the following day, I fessed up to my Physical Therapist and vowed to not run again period until she says I can.  Not one mile, not one minute, not one step!  Since then there have been a few times at work or at home where I’d be in a hurry to do something, making an attempt to get from one location to another as speedily as possible on foot.  Whether it would be from one exam room to another or from my car to a building in the rain, I would have to stop myself from running.  I was determined to keep my “no run” promise!

My physical therapy seems to be going well.  I am making progress every day.  I am being super-diligent about getting my prescribed exercises done each day, even if it means I have to get them done at 11:00 PM.  I had an assessment early last week and it was determined that I need to continue Physical Therapy.  I am making progress, yes, but as my achilles improves and heals, more problems are coming to light.  One of them being a problem I’ve been aware of for a few years now as it was pointed out by my previous Physical Therapist…my hips!  They are weak and lax on one side and super tight on the other which is throwing my form off and, likely, is why I keep having these nagging injuries.  Having me watch myself in a mirror while I performed some prescribed work at a recent session really brought it to light.  Now, when I do my exercises at home I do them in front of a mirror and it is making a difference.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 was the 7th annual Run for the Animals.  For those of you who have been following my pathetic blog, you know that this is my “heart” run!  I have participated in the event every year!  This year was the first year that I had to walk the entire thing.  I only did the 5K, but I am happy to report that C.J. and I completed it and I still feel great!  I haven’t had any problems with my achilles at all.

Today I had another Physical Therapy session.  I was able to run for 5 minutes on the treadmill.  I hate a treadmill, but for PT purposes I will do it!  It was a super-slow pace and I was extremely mindful and cautious throughout every millisecond of movement.  I am feeling good as of writing this post.  We will have to wait to see what tomorrow morning brings.

It’s a process, that’s for certain.  This time I’m going to do it the proper way and hope that I come out stronger (and maybe even faster!) than ever before!  I’m going to take it one step at a time, patiently yet persistently.

Running will not be in my near future…

Even though I felt fine before, during and after my 5K yesterday, I woke this morning to a crunchy, swollen achilles. In addition to that, my calf has been cramping up all day, worsening with each step.

I was so hopeful that I would be fine today. If there was a slight tinge of something, that would be okay! No big deal! I would just continue to rest and do physical therapy exercises and everything will be okay. But my hopes were shattered when I took my first step out of bed this morning. As soon as I lifted my right heel I could feel the crunch of my achilles tendon. Then I noticed the “bump” was back as I was shaving my legs in the shower. “$h1+!!!! You dummy!” That’s what I screamed to myself in my head.

I took a hefty dose of ibuprofen this morning, and iced my achilles for about 10 minutes prior to teaching my SoulBody Barre Unhitched class this morning. I taught the class with complete modification so as not to perform any heel raises myself. I also cued but did not perform anything plyometric! I will continue to do this for the next several weeks. In addition, every minute I was on my feet at work today made my calf tighten up more and more.

As of early this afternoon I swore I wouldn’t run again until I got the okay from my Physical Therapist. I’m out for both the Run for the Animals (but I should be able to walk the 5K) and the Salisbury Marathon (I won’t even be able to complete the half-marathon at this juncture). I’m in a state of depression, I’m not going to lie. I am looking for all things positive from here on out! I will fess-up to my PT on Wednesday about my foolishness and own up to my failure. Things are about to get really serious here for me. So if you see me out running about in the next 2 months, stop me! I have a problem and I need help in multiple ways.

Being injured as a runner, in any way, really sucks. Running is my therapy. It’s what helps me clear my head and get my affairs in order. It’s my zen, my happy place! Without it I am … this. I don’t like this.

Tim Kennard 2018

Today was the 15th Annual Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run & 5K Run/Walk. I registered for the 10 miler about 2 months ago, then promptly injured myself. (If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you know all about my achilles injury!)  I have not run at all in over 6 weeks, so I downgraded myself to the 5K because I knew I wouldn’t be ready for 10 miles.  Walking hasn’t been a problem for me, so I figured I could walk the entire 5K if I had to.

The weather was nice today.  It was cool, in the upper 30’s, with a light breeze.  We could have done without the breeze in these temperatures, but at least it was very light.  It was clear and sunny, so that helped ease the discomfort of the coldness (for me anyway).  I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many half-naked people I saw on the course!  One guy was wearing shorts and no shirt, countless others were in shorts and tanks.  I don’t know how they do it.  I wish I could do that.  If I did, my entire body would seize up with a Raynaud’s event.  I was covered from the tip of my head to my toes, with Hot Hands insole foot warmers in place and hand warmers in the pockets of my jacket. Not my personal ideal running conditions, but I’m happy it wasn’t raining or snowing, or, worse, blowing gale-force winds.  For late March on the middle East Coast, it was decent.

I was dreading the start line, I can’t lie.  I just knew that my first attempt at “lift off” would lead to pain or discomfort and I would be further disheartened.  Did I mention how I have not run an inch in over 6 weeks?  I did a little on the bike and some on the elliptical, but that isn’t running.  My plan was to walk for 5 minutes, then attempt to run until I felt any type of discomfort, then walk/run from that point on as needed.  I don’t know who I was trying to fool because as soon as the gate was open I took off like a dog breaking loose from his leash (only much slower).

To make a short story shorter, I ran the whole darn thing!  I felt good the entire time and finished with a time of 27 minutes and some change.  Nothing close to a PR for a 5K, but way better than I would have ever even thought given my current circumstances.  And I know I’m going to pay for it.  That dull ache on the lateral side of my achilles has been there since I started my heel lift exercises prescribed by my PT.  My PT has not cleared me for running yet, but she knew I was going to walk/run this 5K.  She told me if it hurts to stop!  It never hurt beyond that dull ache.  So I continued and pushed through.  I finished with an official time of 27:31.  WHOA.  I was bookin’ it harder than I realized.

Because I already registered for the run way back when I figured I’d, at least, show up and get my shirt and take a DNS.  Then I could support and encourage all of the other runners!  Thankfully I was able to default to lesser mileage.  I knew in my brain I needed to take it easy, but I didn’t…

I haven’t run in 6+weeks and managed to pull this out of my ass today.  I’m going to pay for it in the coming days and will likely get a scolding from my PT this week.  I didn’t want to do this, it just happened!  The dangers of organized races.  It gives me hope for the marathon that I will not run in late April!  But maybe, just MAYBE I will be able to do the half?

I say as I am icing my ankle/achilles and noticing some swelling and such.

At least I got some cool stuff this year!  Awesome shirt and my first bling from Tim Kennard!

 

Run for the Animals is next.  From now til then it will be determined whether or not I might be able to do a half marathon (marathon is OUT) in Salisbury on April 28.  I’m going to go for it!

PT =

My PT is PT with my PT is turning into PT and PT.  Totally makes sense, right?  If you need help deciphering this message, here’s the key:

Personal Trial | Physical Therapy | Physical Therapist | Positivity Therapy | Patience Testing

As of Tuesday this week I have started my Physical Therapy for my achilles tendon injury.  After meeting with the Physical Therapist, there’s a very slight chance I might be able to run my marathon in late April.  One of my major downfalls is that I haven’t been keeping up with enough cardio exercises to maintain my aerobic capacity.  I was hesitant to do too much bike riding, wasn’t sure if the elliptical would be okay, and in performing HIIT exercises I have to modify most of them to not strain my ankle and achilles tendon.  My Physical Therapist told me on Tuesday that the elliptical would be fine (and is recommended) for this type of injury until I can get back to running again.

Dang.  I wish it didn’t take so long to get an appointment to see her because I could’ve been training on the elliptical all this time.  But now I know and will train as much as is safely possible from here on out.

I have had zero achilles tendon pain in over 2 weeks since I’m not running at all and I have been modifying all of my activities.  According to my PT that means I no longer have tendinitis, but am now in tendinosis.  What does that mean?  It means that the inflammation has subsided but the tendon is still damaged so I have to be extra careful from here on out so as not to rupture the tendon.  No pressure!

Apparently I can “fix” or better this and that is the focus of my therapy; to remodel the scar tissue that has formed at the tendon.  The average time to full recovery is about 3-6 months.  My marathon is in 6 weeks, so when I said there was a slight chance I might be able to run it I really meant that I probably won’t be running it.  However, the positive is that I will be able to run some by then, and should be able to run/walk a half marathon as long as I take it super slow and easy, and if I feel any pain or discomfort at all to stop.  I have been in touch with the coordinators of the run and they have the course mapped out such that I can make my decision to go all the way or half-way while I’m running!  So, no matter what, I will be running that race in April!  I will likely not be running 26.2 miles, but will hopefully be able to complete 13.1 miles at a super slow and steady run/walk.

As for the other runs I have scheduled prior to the marathon, I can still participate in both.  I will not be running the Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run, but I will be participating in the 5K Fun Run/Walk and will walk most of it.  I will not be running the half marathon portion of the Run for the Animals this year, but I will definintely be able to run the 5K and maybe run/walk the 10K.  Thankfully I have until race day to decide which one I want to and will be able to do.

So there you have it.  I will be ultra-diligent with my PT exercises for sure, and will be utilizing the elliptical machines at the Y very regularly in the next several weeks.  Though I will not be able to perform the way I had set out at the beginning of the year, at least I 1) can still perform at all and 2) can heal and recover to come out even stronger next time around!

Never lose sight of what is truly important to you.  Choose to find the positive in everything; even if you have to search really hard for it, it is there…always.

Runners are Crazy; Injured Runners are Crazier

Have you ever had that feeling like you are out of control? A feeling like your life is just getting away from you? I feel that way lately and I know why. It’s because I am supposed to be training for a 10 miler in late March, a half marathon in mid-April and a marathon in late April. However, an achilles tendon injury has me sidelined, so all that planning and scheduling I did for February, March and April was all for naught. I’m trying to stay active and moving, modifying strength-training workouts and cardio workouts to keep my achilles happy, but I feel lost since I’m not running. Those workouts cannot replace the feeling you get after finishing a long run, or a fast 5K, or just an easy run.

I’m having a really difficult time with this. I know I am not the only person in the world to suffer an injury during training, and others have suffered much worse injuries than what I’m dealing with! My friend Jen was training for an ultramarathon last year and slipped during a training run and broke her ankle. She was sidelined for a very long time, but after her doctors gave her the okay to start again, she did. She trained safely, she trained intelligently, she listened to her body and she completed that ultra this year! I respect her and look up to her and hope that I can be as strong as she was with my puny little injury. She’s a hero in my book.

My appointment for Physical Therapy isn’t until March 13, 2018. It’s just a few days away thank goodness, but I’ve been waiting since mid-February. It’s the waiting and wondering, “am I going to be able to run any of my upcoming races?” that’s making me feel out-of-control and lost. Am I crazy? Of course…I’m a runner.

JUST SAY NO! to the Retractable Leash

Having worked in the animal care field for over 20 years now, I have learned a great much about animals and their health and well-being.  I am fairly well acquainted with most pet toys and gadgets too.  Some are great, while others make me think “what in the heck were they thinking when they developed this thing?”  Retractable leashes are one of those gadgets that make me cringe.  I truly hope they, along with chain leashes, go the way of the dinosaur.

Retractable leashes are leads with plastic handles that contain a reel system.  As a pet advances, the leash unreels and the pet is able to move farther from the handler.  If the handler wishes to stop the pet from being able to advance, the handler typically has to push a button that “locks” the leash to prevent it from unreeling.  The only way that the leash can shorten is if there is some slack between the leash handle and the pet.  The first 12 to 24 inches of most retractable leashes is a flat nylon-type material.  The rest of the length of these leashes is typically a thin cord.  In some cases the entire length is a thin cord.

I can understand only one benefit of the retractable leash.  Oh.  Wait.  I lied.

Why am I so down on these ever-so-popular gadgets?  Let me tell you!

  1.  They teach your dog to pull.  If you have a tiny little teacup chihuahua at the end of a leash, the pulling isn’t usually a big deal.  However, if you have a 75 pound lab or a 120 pound mastiff pulling at the other end of a leash, you’re going to have some pretty serious control issues there!  Teaching your dog leash manners is crucial in any case, but especially when it comes to muscular breeds or large and giant breed dogs.
  2. The locking mechanisms are not trustworthy.  As your pet pulls at the retractable leash to check out the flattened squirrel in the street while a car is approaching, are you going to trust that little plastic latch to save your dog from being struck by that oncoming vehicle?  I sure wouldn’t.  And for good reason.  I’ve seen what happens in such a case far too often.
  3. The thin rope cord is dangerous to you and your dog.  Imagine, if you would, the following scenario:  A woman is taking her 60 pound pointer for a walk in the park when a squirrel crosses the dog’s path.  The dog begins to chase the squirrel so the woman attempts to press the “lock” button, but the momentum created by the dog is able to overcome the lock!  In a panic the owner reaches and grabs for the leash.  BIG MISTAKE!  There are cases of dog owners losing fingers in cases similar to this.
  4. At the vet clinic:  All too often I see pet owners come into our office with a dog on a retractable leash and that dog begins to explore the entire waiting area!  We see both healthy and sick patients at the office.  I don’t want your healthy dog fraternizing with another waiting sick dog, or otherwise.  Also, your dog’s roaming creates a snag-line to other patrons or staff members!

These are my top 4 reasons for banning retractable leashes, but I could easily come up with 20 more reasons to ditch them.  Folks, if you have a dog, you need to properly leash train that dog.  If the dog pulls or is too “strong” for you, please talk with your veterinary staff about head halters or no-pull harnesses.