Sunday, March 11, 2012


If you're still here and reading, hello! Sorry for the extended absence. I haven't had much to write about on a blog primarily devoted to running, seeing as I haven't run in 19 days. That's my longest bout of not running in quite a while, and it's going to continue for another month.

I was officially diagnosed with a stress fracture in my right leg about 3 weeks ago, and I've been in a very attractive boot since then. My orthopedist said no running, cycling, or swimming, in the interest of healing as quickly as possible. Admittedly, nothing feels quick about this. I have one more week in the boot. Once I'm out of it, I have a week to go before I can begin cycling and swimming. Two weeks of cross-training and I can start running again. Slowly. That's going to take a lot of discipline to not add the miles too quickly.

I've been trying to figure out how I got here, as a stress fracture is typically an injury of overuse. I was adding my miles gradually and really wasn't changing the frequency of my runs, so the only culprit left is speed. I didn't know speed could be a culprit, but it makes sense. I really didn't do any legitimate speedwork, but I was running faster miles. Plus, those sub-8:00 miles I would bust out at the end of some of my runs may not have been all that great for me. Who knew? (Well, I'm sure plenty of people knew, but I wasn't one of them.)

To add insult to injury, literally, I have been unable to find a buyer for my marathon bib, which leaves me out $95. I went from having two potential buyers to none, which is rather disappointing. This makes for the second race I've paid for and not run in the last year -- that's not cool, especially since I'm in grad school. I'd like to run the Baltimore Marathon in the Fall, so I think I just have to close my eyes, bite the bullet and sign up, because running a marathon is one of my goals for 2012; and I'm not going to give up this easily. Even if I can't eat for a month because my grocery money pays a race fee! (Ok - that's a total exaggeration, obviously. Don't worry!) Another goal was to finish the year with 1,000 miles under my belt shoes, so I'm very anxious to get back to running. I don't know if I can cover the 1,000 while recovering from an injury, but I'm sure going to try.

The goal now is to train smarter, not necessarily harder, which means I'll be incorporating more strength-training into my regime. For now, though, I can only dream about running, which I do, regularly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day ? - I Lost Count

Well faithful readers, I'm afraid bald girl running is coming to a rather abrupt end, sans marathon medal. After a visit to the doctor to follow up on the leg pain I mentioned briefly in a previous post, I've been ordered to rest for two weeks, at least. I'm still waiting on x-rays to be read, though stress fractures rarely show up until the bone is actually starting to heal, or so I'm told. Once my two weeks of no running is up, the doctor will reassess to decide whether or not I need to be in a walking boot.

Of course I am disappointed. I've been training since October, and I'm so close, only 3.5 weeks out from the race. I worked really hard, juggled a lot of scheduling, woke up really early and went to bed really late, picked running over hanging out with friends and eating food that actually had flavor, and spent countless hours trying to stay out of my own head in order to finish long runs. I also ate GU, which you clearly do not do for fun. (To chew or not to chew?) It's disheartening to make it to a long run of 21 miles only to then be injured and have to mentally prepare to not run the race. So much planning and discipline, and for what now?

After my 21-mile run two weeks ago, I said a few times, "Even if I couldn't run the race, I'd be satisfied because I trained this much." When I didn't know better, that was true. Now? Not so much. It's really sad, and it feels wasted. I know in my head that it wasn't wasted, but my heart is trying to catch up to believe my brain. Give me some time for that one.

I'm already looking at other races, but I was so excited by the prospect of running this race - the only marathon to have all 26.2 miles in the District of Columbia. I love DC, and I love running in DC. The first "replacement" race that came to mind was the Marine Corps Marathon, but I'm waiting on a friend to have a schedule that would allow training and running together, so I'll reserve that for another year. The Baltimore Running Festival is another option, especially since I ran a leg of it last year and could easily train in the city. Financially, I'll have to wait. (Did I mention that I lost a nearly-$100 race fee here? Yeah... about that.)

For now, I guess I'll be swimming and cycling. I'm going to miss running. I think I'll start praying we get a massive snowstorm the weekend of the race. How selfish is that? If you know me, you also know that is drastic, because I hate winter and all things winter-related. Fine, I won't pray for a snowstorm...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 94 - Blerg, Nertz, Shark Farts, and Other Liz Lemon Expressions of Discontent

The view from here - RICE (rest, ice,
compress, and elevate)

Today I ran a total of .68 miles before I knew I was being foolish. Actually, I knew I was making a foolish decision as soon as I set out, but I've been ignoring that voice for a while. My stubbornness is astounding. I have handled this potential arch/calf pain with as little seriousness as possible, hoping it would just go away and ignoring it when it didn't. After all, nothing hurt during my runs, only after. And inconsistently throughout the day. I tried to elevate and ice it away, to no avail.

About 10 steps into today's planned 8-miler, I knew running was a bad idea. I can taste the marathon, which is a month away now. I keep thinking, "I'll just finish training and run the race, and then I'll tend to this pain." Today I even told a friend, out loud, that though my leg was hurting I was going to stick it out until the race and then probably be in a boot. That's dramatic, especially since I have no medical proof of what's wrong or that it would lead to a boot; but the sentiment behind that statement is so Leslie of me. I'll just push myself until I run into the ground, and I'll stop when I literally have no other choice.

So I'm stopping, which actually now takes more discipline than running 40 miles each week. That's weird. I'll rest for the next few days and see how I feel before starting again. In the words of 30 Rock's Liz Lemon: "Nertz! ... Shark Farts!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 93 - I'm Going to Run a Marathon

Assuming my legs don't fall off between now and March 17, I'm going to run a marathon. Researchers currently are calculating the probability of my legs falling off; I'll get back to you when I know. But seriously... This just hit me tonight, as I was counting miles -- miles completed during training (397) and miles to go (112). By Friday, my miles-to-go will be in the double digits. Crazy! It feels as though I've been anticipating this for so long, and now it's almost here and yet still 31 days away.

31 days is not very many, though, especially when you have a busy schedule. It has already been a bit harder to juggle schedules to get runs in this semester. I've done a bit of shuffling, woken up super early some mornings, and passed on quite a bit of sleep. That's not ideal, but I'm getting the miles in. I'm already working on a post explaining why your first year of graduate school is both the best and worst time to train for a marathon.

After my internship today I hit the streets for 6 miles at an average 8:34 pace, which was created mostly by a very fast last mile in the 7's. I was scheduled for 5, but I felt pretty good and the route I chose mid-run was going to take me over the limit. As I approached my last intersection, I saw I'd reach my normal stopping point at about 5.75. I'm a stickler for all things even, straight lines and symmetry, so I knew I could get 6. (Further evidence of this neurosis is that, when gas did not cost $1 million per gallon, I used to top off such that the total cost was rounded to a tenth, rather than one-hundredth. Yup. I'm over that now, though.)

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for 8. I don't know where it's going to fit, but it'll go somewhere.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 93 - Womp Womp

I woke with some pretty serious calf pain this morning. This was strange, because the calf pain I initially had on Saturday dissipated after my short recovery run/walk and stretching. It returned with a vengeance today and continued on-and-off. I'm trying to be wise about training, because I don't want to be injured, so I decided to get a quick 5 miles on the trainer in, instead of running. It actually works out alright since I'm pushing my long run back to Sunday this weekend in order to run with a friend, so I can resume the 5-8-5 miles pattern starting tomorrow, assuming all is well with the leg.

Nothing else exciting to report. Things are busy here; time is simultaneously flying and dragging. That's such a weird phenomenon.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 92 - Olympic Race Walking

There are enough blog posts circulating the Internet in honor of Valentine's Day about how running is like a dating relationship; I'm not going to add to that pile. Instead, I'll move from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Olympic Race Walking.

Now, I've never claimed to be a particularly fast runner, but I am somewhat distraught (not really) that these athletes can walk faster than I can run sprint. Still, their disjointed style of walking kind of makes my hips hurt. I'm just waiting for something to dislocate. The women are especially disconcerting, as most of them look incredibly unhealthy. And also ridiculous. And like they are making their joints do things they absolutely should not do, as evidenced by the lead contender's demise.

I'll stick to running, thanks.

[Thanks for sticking with me for this ridiculous post. This summer, I plan to watch this event, even though it's probably one that is shown at 3 am.]

Tomorrow: back to running!

Day 91 - Yummies

Don't tell running, but there are a lot of things I enjoy more than running. One of those things happens to be eating good food. More specifically -- eating good Mexican food. Surely I've mentioned my "recovery burritos," in which I often indulge after a long run. Or a short run. Or no run at all.

The truth is plain and simple: I love Mexican food.

Today, after church, I headed over to Tortilleria Sinaloa with a friend. I went there for the first time about a month ago and spoke briefly with the owner. Today, she recognized us when we walked in (+3 points). We arrived at the same time as about 10 other people, and the place is pretty small, so I was a little unsure as to where we would sit (-1 point). However, as soon as our food came out, Melissa, the aforementioned owner, went out of her way to clear us a place to stand by moving a big basket of chips and some other things (+4 points). She then proceeded to talk with us for about 5 minutes, which was so delightful (+5 points), before a spot cleared for us to sit (+1 point). Melissa was super attentive, even though it's basically self-serve once you've gotten your food (+2), and the food was fabulous, as expected (+2 points).

There's nothing scientific about my scoring system, but Tortilleria Sinaloa is clearly in the positive for dining experience. The food is excellent, the prices are great, and everything feels special. Plus, I feel like I'm supporting the "little guy," even though the place is hardly unknown; it has about a bazillion accolades from various sources. If you're ever in Baltimore, go here. And call me, because I want to go with you.

Moving on to my other most frequently discussed topic... after getting a bit of work done this afternoon, I got in 10 miles on the trainer for my Sunday cross-training. It's been a while since my last ride, and since my last real cross-training in general, so it was nice to get the miles in. Also convenient was the fact that I strapped my iPhone to the handlebars and watched an episode of Law and Order: SVU on Netflix. I can't hear my computer over the hum of the trainer, so the iPhone was the perfect solution because I could have it close enough to use headphones. What a nerd!