A Different Opinion

Note: This is both an update on my week and, if you continue reading, a recap of my first appointment at Wellness in Motion Boston.

After running the Harpoon 5-Miler on Sunday, I thought my legs were going to fall off. When I woke up on Monday, my quads were sore, which almost never happens except after running significant downhills. The race course was almost completely flat except for a bridge, so I’m a little perplexed. I slept in a bit which was nice because I was actually a tad hungover from drinking 5 beers over the course of 5 hours – a LOT more than I’m used to these days. I worked from home in the morning because Ben’s only appointment that day was at 10:40 and he wants me to make sure I’m coming in weekly until after my half. I can’t do much of anything after dry needling – my calf is far too sore and tight – so I try to go early in the day and early in the week.

We talked a little about my race and how I wasn’t in much pain but that the issue with my feet burning/going numb was almost enough to ruin the race for me. He was happy to see me in my new supportive running shoes, and not just because he also wears the Brooks Adrenaline. We got down to business, which was dry needling to the back of my left calf, as well as some Graston there, which had me feeling like I wanted to puke. The needle hit a nerve, which made my foot feel like it was electrocuted. As soon as he moved the needle, the pain was gone. I’m so amazed by the human body and how it’s all connected.

He really massaged the heck out of my calf after torturing it, so I barely had to limp to my car and then into the office. I kept my foot elevated and resting on a heating pad for most of the day, which took the edge off the pain but unfortunately meant that every time I got up to get water or go to the bathroom or attend a meeting, it was super tight from being at rest. I was determined to get in a workout after work though, and since my trainer is on vacation this week, she left us with a plan. Continue reading

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Running is So Much Better with Friends

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Jess and me

For my first few years of running, I was a solo runner. At the time I started, none of my friends really ran – at least none of the ones who lived near me. That all changed when I signed up to run the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber. On our first training run in December 2016, I was recovering from my first hamstring injury, just 2 months after my first half marathon. I was in PT at the time and promised Peter I would only run 4 miles and would take them slow. I kept to my promise about going slow, but ran 6 because I felt pretty great. Seeing almost everyone else running in groups while I ran totally alone was kind of a bummer. I ran with a teammate a few weeks later when I was back in western Mass for the holidays. I was slow and recovering from E.coli poisoning, but he stayed with me the whole time. We chatted (well, he chatted and I listened) and before I knew it, we had run over 8 miles. I started going to the Thursday night DFMC runs in January, which started and ended at a bar. I met a girl named Jessica and ran with her a few other teammates, and the rest is history. I ran almost every Thursday with Jess, and almost every Saturday with Jess and Lori. We’d eventually run the marathon together, and Jess and I have now run SO many races and training runs together.

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Meghan and me

Meghan was always faster than us, but we’d often pass each other on runs. Her dog passed away not too long before Rags did, and (aside from my parents) she was the single most supportive person during his final weeks and then in the days and weeks after his death. I believe our shared trauma drew us together, even if our paces kept us apart during actual runs. After the marathon, I got faster and was able to keep up with her.

Since meeting them – and so many other people who have become dear friends – early in the marathon training season, I’ve come to think of Jess and Meghan as two of my closest friends. We text all the time and see each other at races and events and fundraisers and volunteer shifts. That’s why I’m so glad both of them, and my marathon buddy Lori, have all verbally committed to running the 2019 Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber again!

But in the meantime… Continue reading

2018 Harpoon 5-Miler Recap

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After last week’s failed attempt to run and then Thursday’s 24-hour stomach bug combined with my current hamstring pain level and strange feet burning/numbness on runs any distance over 3 mile, I went into Sunday’s Harpoon 5-Miler with zero expectations. I hydrated like a fish on Saturday, got to bed early, and woke up before my alarm on Sunday morning feeling good. My calves were tight but a walk with Chip and a few minutes with my Roll Recovery R8 nipped that in the bud. After coffee and hardboiled eggs and some lemon cake for carbs (I was too scared of peanut butter after puking up my smoothie on Thursday for my usual go-to of peanut butter on an English muffin), I headed out for my hourlong journey to Harpoon.

I saw that the next trains were 3, 7, and TWENTY-THREEE minutes away, and it’s just over a 10-minute walk to the train (well, to the branch of the train I wanted to take since my branch is under construction and thus running shuttle buses instead of trains – boo). I knew I would be late to meet my friends if I had to wait 15 minutes for a train, so I decided to run the ¾ of a mile to the train in order to ensure I’d make the one 7 minutes away. Of course, it was more like 10 minutes away so I had time to catch my breath and let the breeze dry the sweat dripping down my face – it was so freaking humid out already. Fortunately the rest of my trip was uneventful, and I beat my friends and had plenty of time to hit up the portapotties while they were still sparkling clean and fully stocked.

My friends arrived a little after 9:15. We chatted for a bit, checked our bags, went to the portapotties again, and eventually it was time to line up. We didn’t start until 10:10am so I knew it would be after 11 by the time I crossed the finish line. I started out with Jess and her friends but lost them almost immediately. All I cared about was feeling OK. I knew it would be my slowest race or possibly a DNF, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt myself before my half in exactly  2 weeks. I was really slow – like an 11:00/mile pace – but I felt good. So good that I ignored my watch telling me to take a 1-minute walk break after 3 minutes. It was still too early in the race and too crowded, but I wouldn’t have been the only one walking. I saw lots of people employing a run/walk strategy! Continue reading

New Shoes Attempts Nos. 1 and 2

20180516_204232.jpgAfter loving the Hoka One One Arahi running shoes I tried on last fall but opting for the Mizuno Wave Sky so as not to stray too far from the Mizuno Wave Riders I’d be wearing for the previous 3 years, I finally purchased a pair of the Arahi 2s on Wednesday. I’ve had nothing but issues since buying the Wave Skys, but I don’t know if they are to blame. They were special ordered for me so when I got the call that they had arrived, I stopped in on my way home from work. There was a metered spot directly in front of the store and I didn’t bother to pay – knowing I’d be in and out in a matter of minutes. When the employee asked if I wanted to try them on, I said, “No because I didn’t pay the meter and tried them on last fall.” Big mistake.

They hurt. I put them on as soon as I got home and took Chip for a walk. With each step, they bend in half on the top of the shoe, where my second-smallest toe meets the rest of my foot. This was on both feet. It also hurt on the right sole of my foot, that pad underneath your baby toe and along the outside. So after dinner, I added my arch support insoles, laced my shoes the weird way I need for my high insteps, and wore thick socks as opposed to my super thin Feetures Elite Ultra Light socks. They felt a lot better, but the socks weren’t working for me. They’re old and stretched out and really just meant for kicking around the house when my feet are cold. Continue reading

Struck by the 24-Hour Stomach Bug

Screenshot_20180517-070626.pngMaybe it makes sense that I wasn’t sleeping well earlier this week. When I woke up at 5am on Thursday, I felt nauseated. This isn’t entirely uncommon when waking up at the crack of dawn, but it’s definitely not something I’ve experienced lately – especially now that my body usually wakes up naturally around 5am. I walked Chip and ate a GU energy gel so I wouldn’t pass out at the gym. Once I got on the elliptical, I planned to my prescribed 5 miles. Instead, I almost quit after 1.5 but instead sucked it up and got through 4 miles. I felt exhausted and sluggish, and my new shoes felt no better than the old ones (review coming up soon).

After my workout, I went home and made my first sugar-free smoothie. Instead of my normal vanilla protein powder-chia seed-spinach-frozen mango-frozen berries combination, I added protein powder-chia seed-peanut butter-cacao nibs. I don’t think I’ve ever had cacao nibs before, but cacao is just cold-pressed, unroasted cocoa beans. Cacao powder is known to have a higher antioxidant content than cocoa, and has been linked to a variety of benefits.

My smoothie was different but good. I drank half of it in the shower because I was starving. But almost as soon as I got out of the shower, I started feeling faint. It was like I was deliriously tired but with cold sweats (my apartment was still nice and cool from the overnight temps). I thought maybe I was just dehydrated and hungry, so I forced myself to finish the smoothie despite the quickly worsening nausea.

So much for that idea. Continue reading

No Sleep for the Weary

You’d think that 3 straight tough workouts in a row, 2 of which were at 6am, would mean I’ve been sleeping like a baby. Not so! I rarely sleep better than in my own bed, but I honestly slept far better last week at my dad’s house – though I do believe some of that “sleep” was more like “allergy coma.” I’ve been getting into bed dead tired but unable to fall asleep FOR HOURS. I toss and turn, I get up, I watch something boring on my iPad, but nothing seems to help. Eventually I fall asleep flat on my back, staring at the ceiling. What the heck, man?!

It’s not like I come home and eat bad food or nap or drink. I take Chip for 2 decently long walks between the time I get home from work and the time I go to bed. I don’t drink alcohol. I eat a light but filling meal – usually salmon and veggies – with no dessert. All I can think is that my body isn’t quite used to these morning workouts and/or that I’m getting too much screen time. Checking my work emails, looking at Instagram, watching TV/my iPad before bed (but not IN bed so that’s good).

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According to my Fitbit, I got less than 6 hours of sleep Sunday (into Monday, hence the “Mon”), less than 7 on Monday, and less than 8 last night. 7 hours and 37 minutes is pretty damn good, but it didn’t feel like it. I actually completely forgot to set my alarm for the gym this morning and woke up at 5:51am – way too late to walk Chip and get in a workout before work. So that means I have to make time tonight and still get up tomorrow morning to exercise before work since I’m donating platelets after work.

Help!

The Run That Wasn’t Meant to Be

As I wrote yesterday, the Voltaren gel was a total flop. It provides me with zero relief from pain. It’s basically a waste of my $15 co-pay and several hours fighting with my insurance company. But I was willing to give it a shot for my long run on Saturday, so I opted for the gel instead of my usual ibuprofen and Biofreeze.

Here’s why 9 miles on Saturday was probably never in the cards for me:

  • Long run last Saturday went OK, but didn’t run again for a full week because of the next few bullets
  • Got my period Monday, cramps set in by Monday afternoon and I was miserable
  • Felt horrible on Tuesday when I woke up, so scrapped my plans to run before work
  • After work, drove to Longmeadow
    • Got a later start to this drive than I was planning because work was madness and continued to be nuts until Friday night
  • Still felt awful on Wednesday but took my dad to his medical procedure
  • Planned to run Thursday morning, but instead went to bed at 7pm on Wednesday night and could hardly drag myself out of bed at 7:30am on Thursday
  • Fatigue lasted the whole day
    • Might’ve been allergies, might’ve been the stress of worrying about my dad, might’ve been the insane work stress
  • Stayed at my dad’s again on Thursday night, sleeping 8pm-7am
  • Each day, drank massive amounts of caffeine and had very little protein
  • Each night, drank 2-3 gin cocktails to take the edge off my stress
    • I was never drunk but I’m sure this affected my sleep somewhat

On Friday night, we went out to dinner and I got chicken piccata over angel hair pasta – lots of protein & carbs to fuel the following morning’s run. I limited myself to one drink and went to bed early. Once again, I had trouble getting up the next morning. I knew I had to get going because I was going to my mom’s for the day/night, and didn’t want to get there too much later than noon. I had my coffee & English muffin with peanut butter, but realized that it was cold out (in the 50s but quickly dropping into the 40s) and about to pour. I had only packed for spring weather, so I asked my dad if I could borrow a long-sleeve tech shirt. He only had one and it was white and made for a man, not a woman with hips. So I put a tank top under my short-sleeve tech shirt, hoping the layers would keep me warm. I also wore a hat and my hydration belt, and headed out the door. Continue reading