Category Archives: Running Injuries

Coming to terms with my first DNF

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I belong to several running communities, and follow them all on Facebook. It is amazing to me how many of us are going down with injuries this summer. From minor issues to major issues, we are being forced to modify our running to adapt to our medical issues.

Personally, this year I have had several DNS races due to continuing problems from a car accident last September, and new issues that have emerged as I have modified to try to accommodate those injuries. The most humbling incident for me was at the Sehgahunda trail marathon, in Letchworth Park, New York, self-described:

“Sehgahunda is the REAL DEAL. It may just be one of the hardest trail marathons in the east. It’s 26.3 miles of single track trails, over 3000 feet of climbing, with more than 100 gullies that need to be traversed”

I was ill-prepared for this marathon, as I live in a very flat area of New York, and was not running regularly due to neck and back pain. On race day I was very excited to give it a whirl; unfortunately, the weather was excruciatingly hot, and there was no air flow on the trail. Getting to and from the checkpoints was so difficult – grass up to my waist and higher, and shoe-sucking mud beneath. I was not prepared for the severe declines and inclines, and each leap over a gully made me wince from pain. I made it to checkpoint 3 before it was decided that I (and many, many others) should not continue. Of the 300 entrants, there were only 206 finishers.

I was out there for 4:19:13 for 16 miles. Should I have pushed through the last 10+ miles? That question haunted me for a while. The way things were deteriorating, I probably would have been on the trail another 2 ½ to 3 hours at least. I may not have even made the 8 hour cut off. When I brought this up with my chiropractor, he affirmed that I made absolutely the correct decision. I was dehydrated, tired and in pain. I know I set myself back medically by doing 16 miles; now, I also have an issue with my hip. Doing the extra 10+ may have been satisfying at the moment I crossed the finish line, but I am sure I would have regretted it in the long run.

Hopefully I am learning from these experiences. Instead of being disappointed in myself, I should be proud that I completed 16 miles of the toughest race I have ever attempted, and while injured. I also learned that I do enjoy trail running, but maybe not to the extreme of this particular race. I became very nervous on the steep downhills when someone would come barreling up behind me. Sometimes there was nowhere to go to allow people to pass (the women start earlier than the men, but then some of the men end up catching up pretty quickly and passing some of the women). This just was not my race.

It has taken me six weeks to write about this. I am such a stubborn person and not finishing something I start is very frustrating for me. Reading all the stories my fellow runners have been posting on Facebook about their setbacks and comebacks has really helped me accept that my DNF is just another part of my growth as a runner. So thanks to all of you!

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He said I could run, so I did.

Thankfully my x-ray results showed that the stress fractures had not advanced to full fractures, so my doctor said he would let me try putting on my sneakers and running “some.”  Mind you, he wasn’t really clear on how far “some” was, so I thought it was open to interpretation.  I had been wearing the CAM boot about 7, 8 weeks, and when the injury happened I was only a few weeks into the half marathon training, so I knew I was going to be a bit behind.  I had been following the training anyway, but instead of running I was doing the recommended distances on the elliptical at the gym.  As it happens, the distance scheduled for the day after I got the okay to run was a 12-miler (the half marathon is only a week out).  Saturday morning was beautiful, so I gingerly laced up my Brooks (my bursitis in the foot still is acting up .. the injection provided relief for one stinking day) and headed to a long path I had not run before.  Well, I did the 12 miles, run/walking.  I know my fear of stepping on the foot really impaired my running, and I’m sure I probably looked like a waddling duck.  I ran on the grass some of the time for cushioning, but I did it.  It hurt, but not as bad as I thought it would.  I was really, really slow, but at least I wasn’t too bad on my breathing, which was a big fear.

Fast forward to the next morning (rest day) … WHAT is that pain in my legs … that part where your legs connect to your body.  That part on Barbie dolls where you can pull off the legs.  It felt like I had never moved them before!  Next day, 3+ miles and that pain is still there!  I’m pretty sure I now know that using an elliptical is no substitute for running.  Going to have to do some mighty stretching and foam rolling to try to work this out.

I leave Friday for my sister’s house in Virginia, and then Sunday is the half marathon in Virginia Beach.  Although my time will probably be about 45 minutes slower than originally planned, just finishing (upright) will be an accomplishment.  And celebrating with my sister is the best victory.

10 days, 3 x-rays, 1 cortisone shot, 0 children

Today I followed up with my doctor for the stress fractures. Still in my CAM boot (it’s been about 7 weeks now) and still having pain.  After I reminded him that my first half marathon was in TEN days, he thought the pain might be from the bursitis and not the fractures, as they should be healing.  SHOULD BE?!?  I have been so good in wearing that boot (even to bed!) and not doing any running or even walking without the boot.  We don’t have the results from the x-rays but hopefully they will show some healing.  In the meantime, he gave me a cortisone shot right between the toes (OUCH).  If the x-ray looks good, he said I could try light running in a few days (should be much less pain), and I will be able to run/walk in the marathon.  I’ll take it!

In other news, both my girls have flown the coop – Ashley has moved to Seoul, South Korea to start her teaching job, and Morgan has moved to her apartment in New York City for her sophomore year at college.  Running is empty nest therapy!

WHAT A SUMMER!Image

I Love Lucy, and my doctor thinks I’m nuts.

Yesterday was Lucille Ball’s birthday.  I can’t explain why I am so crazy about her.  Her facial expressions, her eyes, her voice, her physical comedy.  The way she rocked those dresses and capri pants.  Because she is from Jamestown, NY (not too far from Buffalo).  Because when I was so sick during my second pregnancy, my oldest daughter would lie with me and we would watch Lucy on TV Land all day.  Lucy inspires me.  I can’t wait to race in the first ever Lucy Town Half Marathon in Jamestown this October.

Lucy Town

Which leads me to my recent doctor appointment.  Such a nice, young man, too afraid now to tell me I can’t (or shouldn’t) be doing the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon on September 1.  Instead, I am to wear my boot for two more weeks, and then go back for a cortisone shot.  When I tell him I am not concerned about doing the half marathon, because I will do the half marathon, he says he knows, because I am very “driven.”  As I look at his face when he says that though, I think what he means to say is that I am a crazy old lady.

But in a few weeks I will be a crazy old lady who finished her first half marathon.

Doctor Appointment Today!!

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This afternoon is my first follow up since my doctor told me I had the stress fractures and bursitis in my foot.  My hope was that he was going to say I was looking good and I could resume training for the half marathon.  My reality is that I think he is going to say I have to keep wearing my darn boot.  I honestly don’t see how one is supposed to heal — life doesn’t stop when you are injured.  Probably traipsing around Manhattan all weekend looking at apartments with my daughter didn’t help, but most things in my life right now can’t be put on hold.  I want to enjoy summer with my girls before they both leave in a few weeks.

At this point I am willing to negotiate with my doctor — I will give up the Color Run in 12 days but still do the half marathon on September 1.  If he doesn’t go for it, I may have to use my secret weapon – tears.

Quote

“Doctors are gr…

“Doctors are great–as long as you don’t need them.”
― Edward E. Rosenbaum, A Taste of My Own Medicine: When the Doctor Is the Patient

doctors, Edward E. Rosenbaum

Even at my age, sometimes patience is a four letter word.

I have to admit, I thought this was going to be a wonderful summer.  My oldest daughter was fulfilling her dream and moving to Seoul, South Korea.  She was accepted to teach English at her first choice school, and expected to leave mid-July.  Due to multiple snags, glitches and being at the mercy of not one but two governments, her papers still are being processed and home she waits.  Needless to say her spirits are sagging and patience is just about non-existent.

My next and youngest daughter left college in NYC in the spring with the plan that for this school year (which begins in 3 1/2 weeks) she would find an apartment with three of her friends (all of whom live in surrounding boroughs to NYC).  As time passes, there is talk that the friends might just commute from home to school, which is impossible for my daughter.  This is not definitive, but how patient can you be when you are talking about possibly not having a living space?  Her nerves are just about rattled.

For me, today is exactly one month before the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, my first-ever half marathon and the beginning of my year-long 50th birthday celebration.  Unfortunately, I am still in my CAM boot nursing stress fractures and bursitis, and haven’t been able to train for over a month.  It goes without saying that due to my injuries, my family hasn’t been able to do many of the fun family outings that we had planned.  It’s easy to feel like a bad mom, still, even when your kids are grown, when you can’t do anything to help them with their situations, and you can’t even follow through on promises you made.

I consider myself a very patient person, but this summer is really testing me!