Saturday, December 7, 2013

Don't Stop Believin'

Thanksgiving morning, a few miles north of Detroit. The temperature read 22 degrees Fahrenheit. We bundled up and drove to Cobo Hall in downtown and prepare to run. For the hour before the race, we waited in Cobo Hall to stay warm, then headed out onto the streets around 8:15AM.

It was actively snowing, and there is a good amount of snow and ice on the ground!

My first 5k since breaking my leg, I ran in a crowd of 11,000 (22,000 for both the 5 and 10k), on snow filled icy streets. I think the temperature maxed out at 23 degrees. It was absolutely beautiful. 

Downtown Detroit has such pretty old buildings, and the crowd waiting for the Thanksgiving parade cheered for the runners while they waited. We had decided not to try for any time, which was a good call since there was black ice. 

We came in at 28:33, my third slowest 5k time. We had a blast! It was great running with Neil, seeing a new city, and hanging out with Neil and Judy before the race, making fun of people in turkey hats.

I think next year, I'll try the Drumstick Double, where you run the 10k then the 5k...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nothing's Gonna Stop (me) Now

I've been hesitant to write anything down in this blog, in case jinxing oneself is a real thing. Running has been going well since early October. I'm doing (a paltry) 3 miles 3 times a week, with no real problems to speak of. I even made it to 4 miles this past Sunday, and it felt great!

Taped up!
Every other week I've been going to the physical therapist for ultrasound in the hopes that it helps my LCL heal faster. With the guidance of my PT, I've been trying out kinesio tape instead of my knee strap, since the strap it tight on my calf and is likely to cause issues once I get over 5-7 miles. The tape worked well when he put it on, but when I tried on my own, not so well. Hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon.

Despite my rosy outlook, I'm a little bit wrecked. I'm sore all over, and yoga last night was a struggle! Perhaps running 3 times a week, yoga 3 times a week, and climbing 2 times a week is too much for my lazy body?

Well, I have one thing to say about that: suck it up, body! Because I'm not slowing down!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

So Far, So Good

A few weeks back, I got the okay to start running again. The painstaking buildup from scratch is a topic I've covered, so I won't belabor its' annoyances again. The bottom line is that I'm up to 2.5 miles at around 8:30-9:00 minutes per mile on average, and I seem to be doing fine.

It certainly feels nice to get back to running, even if it is short distances, and even if I am huffing and puffing a bit. The nice thing is that I'm going fairly slow on purpose; I feel like I could go faster. I feel like I could go farther, too, but I'm trying to take it slow.

The really nice thing is that Neil and I get to run together again, and I'll definitely be able to do the Thanksgiving Day race!

At the top of Jupiter Peak!
I assumed after my hike up to Jupiter Peak in Park City, Utah last month that I was ready for some running. With my trusty leg strap in place, I did eight miles roundtrip, with about 7,000 feet elevation gain, and felt fantastic. I'm glad I was right!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Walking Revolution

Every Body Walk has made an inspiring documentary on why we should walk and what we gain when we do. It is well worth the 30 minutes to watch it, and well worth the share to those you care about!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On the Road Again

Equipped with a strap to do the work my LCL isn't doing, and with new exercises from my physical therapist, I'm going to start running again tonight. I'll be doing the painstaking build up back to actual running again, but I've had a sports medicine doctor and a sports-trained orthopedic surgeon give me the go-ahead to start back up!

Now that I'm not scared of doing more damage (well, not scared by my former doctor, at least), I'm hoping to be running again in time for a Thanksgiving-day race in Detroit with my guy and his family. We'll see if I can manage the Turkey Trot 10k, or just the Stuffing Strut 5k (actual names, folks, I'm not making this up). I'm excited to have a new plan!

I'm going to ease back in, and hopefully be doing a (measly) three miles three times a week in two weeks. Then, try to gain some speed back. We'll see how it goes. I may not be able to run CIM like I'd planned back in March (when I signed up, only to re-injure myself), but maybe the relay is within reach.

Spring marathon, here I come?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

I stopped posting here when I stopped feeling like anything I had to say was progress towards running again. While I have veered into non-running topics here, for the most part I like to blog about running, racing, and the accompanying feasting that often takes place. Motivation is hard to find when there seems to be no end in sight to my doctor-ordered rest.

Over the summer, I dutifully attempted to stay off my leg, so that whatever stupid piece of connective tissue that is easy to reinjure could heal. And I just didn't feel like it was healing. When I would walk the slightest distance, it would flare up for days. I don't mind pain, but when my doctor told me it meant I wasn't healed and couldn't run for months, it gets frustrating. 

One of my running friends told me that my doctor, formerly her doctor, had advised her not to run for six months, which she ignored and ran two weeks later after seeing someone else. Maybe my doctor is too conservative. It never seemed right to stay off my leg when it hurt; losing muscle and being inactive don't seem like strategies to get back in the game.

So I sought out a new doctor. 

After seeing the new doctor (still a Kaiser Sports Medicine doctor), I have a new support to wear to take some of the load off my injured leg while I regain strength. I have an appointment with a surgeon in a week to see what options I might have. And I have a few experimental treatments to think about. I feel much better, even if I'm still running. Not having to be afraid of walking to get coffee, or go on a really short hike, is such a nice feeling.

I have a long road ahead, with how long it has been since I was running (almost a year!). I'm unstable, have very little muscle, and am a worryer. But I really want to run. And thats all I need. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013


We weren't one of those families that camped or backpacked. My mom did her best to take me to the park across the street most nights, Capitol and McKinley Parks on weekends, and an occasional train ride to play in Golden Gate Park. But we never really made it to anywhere that might count as wilderness. 

This past year, I've been doing my best to make up for lost time. Last summer's road trip up the coast, Julia and I hit the redwoods and the coastal parks. This spring and summer, Neil and I have gone to the foothills, Tahoe, the central coast redwoods. And last weekend, finally, to Yosemite. 

I knew Yosemite would be beautiful, but I had no idea just how beautiful. The sheer contrast of the valley and the mountains so closeby, the trees, rivers and waterfalls. 

Since my MRI came back normal, and what I really need is rest to heal what ails me, I figured it would be a great idea to backpack for three days. I knew it probably wasn't a good idea, but I wanted so badly to go to Yosemite with Neil before he leaves, since neither of us had ever been. And of course, I didn't want common sense or logic to ruin my fun.

We started out Friday morning after staying in the backpackers camp in the valley, on one of the most popular trails. From Happy Isles, we hiked up to Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail, having accidentally gone off the John Muir Trail which we meant to take. We continued up to Nevada Falls, eventually taking the Panorama Trail to Illilouette Falls then down to Illilouette Creek to camp. All told, about 9 miles and perhaps 2500 feet elevation gain over the day. 

On the second day, we took it easy, hiking up the Panorama Trail to Glacier Point about two and a half miles to see the views. In the afternoon, we swam in the creek.

Vernal Falls

View from Panorama Trail

Day three took us back up to Glacier Point, then down the Four Mile Trail all the way down to the Valley. By the way, it is actually 4.6 miles. About halfway down to the valley, my leg really started bothering me. 

All told, it was one of the best weekends I've had. I look forward to many more, you know, once my leg is better. 

Glacier Point

Almost done, on the Four Mile Trail

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

It has certainly been an interesting ride. I was remarkably zen about breaking my leg and being out of commission for fall and winter marathon season, despite being on track to set a major PR or perhaps BQ. I thought, I did something silly, and I'll suffer the consequences. At least I didn't tear anything, or have a bad break. Its just eight weeks, I thought.

Approaching a full eight months later, my tune has changed. I felt sluggish and out of shape when I initially came back after December and January of slow PT. I was frustrated in March when I learned I'd injured some soft tissue and had to sit out everything but PT for a month. Against my best efforts, I was pretty down on myself after immediately re-injuring my leg after the rest period, setting me back at least another eight weeks.

I've been a good girl, or as good as I can manage. I'm doing my PT about five times a week, and doing my best to stay off my leg. Okay, I go outdoors and walk a bit, but nothing too far or difficult. I'm doing my best to get better without going crazy sitting indoors.

The long and hopeful road to recovery leads me to Kaiser tomorrow morning for an MRI. My doctor is skeptical that it will be useful, since the area I injured is small and difficult to see. I'm really hoping that I can finally get an answer to why my leg still hurts, eight months and countless hours of PT later. Will the slow but stead PT be effective eventually, or will I need to do something more drastic to recover? Hopefully, tomorrow's test will reveal an answer.

Despite the setbacks, the past eight months have been some of the best I've had. My broken leg caused me to meet the most fun, caring, amazing man, turning my supposed bad luck upside down. I've managed to learn so much in my "downtime" from running, appreciate the little things each day brings, and look forward to a time when I'll be running again.

It will happen. Look out!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lunchtime Walks

Now that I live in midtown, I can bike home to walk the dogs at lunch!

Monday, April 15, 2013

We Can Pickle That!

If I can't run, I might as well make tasty treats! Green beans aren't in season yet, so we made pickled asparagus with a Dilly Bean recipe from a friend. The asparagus was bought fresh at the Sunday Farmers Market, brought home by bicycle! Here's to fancy Bloody Mary's!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grumble Grumble

I haven't posted in an embarrassingly long time, because I haven't run in an embarrassingly long time. After starting up a bit more slowly than I liked, I got up to five miles a few times a week. I started feeling sluggish during runs. My injured leg seemed to ache more than it should.

In the meantime, I started a new job, to which I would walk (about a mile). Being a the activity enthusiast that I am, I set up a standing desk. I took the stairs (4 flights) instead of the elevator.

But my leg hurt. So I went to the doctor. At first, she thought I may have rebroken my leg (despite the fact that I was told that was very unlikely). Turns out, I sprained some stupid tiny ligament right above the break site. I must have sprained it when I broke my leg, and reinjured it after ramping up my running. She said my hip muscles weren't strong enough to support the running, and my leg rolled in.

Here I am, five months after breaking my leg, with another month of rest. No running, limited walking, and no climbing (since it aggravated it). I can only ride my bike. Oh joy. Grumble.

I moved to midtown, and I can't walk around and enjoy it! In fact, moving probably set back the healing even more. Grumble.

This June 16th, I won't be running the San Francisco Marathon as I'd planned. That really bummed me out, so much so that I (ironically) haven't really started my PT in a real way. I went to the gym to do weights once, and I lost one of my resistance bands in the move. So basically, I'm slacking on doing the things that will get me running again. Shame on me...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Until a few years ago, I was an avid pedestrian, transit user, and bike rider. Growing up, I was transit dependent, which continued through college. When I started work after college, I rode my bike to work most days. Unfortunately, I began commuting to grad school in Davis by car, then lengthly road construction blocked the safe paths to work from home.

Well, the road construction ended mid-last year, and I have been complacent in my driving. I do often have meetings that necessitate driving, but I often have meetings where a bicycle would ease parking troubles. I decided, once my broken leg healed, to stop being a hypocrite and start being a bike commuter. I'm happy to report that I started in earnest two weeks ago.

So far, I've ridden to work three times, and actually have had meeting conflicts the rest of the days that made driving the only option. My schedule should calm down, and I plan to ride at least two days a week, with my goal being riding every day that I don't need my car to get to a meeting. Six miles each way is a piece of cake, and the weather has been so nice lately.

Since I haven't posted my running goals for the year yet (oops), I'll post a lifestyle goal:

In 2013, I will honor my values (sustainability, conservation, physical activity, health) and ride my bicycle to work, errands, and play whenever possible. 

Since I don't have a photo of my bike handy, here is a photo from the internet of a 1968 Peugeot UO-18, which looks remarkably like my bike. Pretty.

Photo Credit: PDXaero on

Friday, January 25, 2013

Calamity Jane

Last Saturday, I actually ran for 20 minutes (no walking). Despite all of my connective tissue being very angry with me, I was super excited to ditch walking and get to running again.

I drove down to San Jose, and went outdoor climbing at Indian Rock (Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains) on Sunday. It was a blast! I took some falls (on toprope, of course), and managed to get scraped up a bit. Halfway into the drive home, I noticed that my right ankle hurt. By the time I reached Sacramento, I could barely stand on it. Oops.

Needless to say, I haven't run this week. I stayed away from yoga most of the week as well. Climbing on Tuesday brought on a worsening of the weird pain in my left bicep that I've been feeling for the past month. On Wednesday, the pain was radiating down my entire left arm. I climbed a few easy routes Thursday, felt the twinge, and went to yoga instead.

My body seems to be trying to tell me something. Maybe it is just stress, and some rest will provide a cure. At least I rode my bike to work yesterday, providing some cardio to offset my beer-drinking.

This all just goes to show that if it isn't one thing with me, it is something else.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

I've been in a rut. After I progressed my run/walk ratio up to 3/2, progress halted. By 20 minutes in, my leg hurt at the break site. I got discouraged, and figured I'd be better off taking some time to rebuild muscle and stability, then trying to run again.

The reality is that run/walking is not motivating at all, and I felt like a total tool being on the treadmill at the gym. I hit a (small) roadblock, and decided to quit, at least for a bit. It was easy. I rode the recumbent bike a lot over my holiday break. I burned myself out on weights and climbing, and I'm now climbing 11bs!!! I forgot about my rehab. Bad news.

With the second full week of January came the realization that I have to get back to running. I can't just give in to the lack of accomplishment I feel when I run/walk for a half hour. If I want to do long runs, compete in races, and be myself again, I have to do my time in rehab. Period.

Friday I did an easy 30 minutes of 2/3, and today I did my first 3/2 without pain! According to my PT, once I'm past 4/1, I can go straight into running! By the end of the week, if my hectic schedule and motivation don't get the best of me, I could be running for a solid 20 minutes!

A girl can hope...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year!

This year is off to a fantastic start! On New Years Day, after not waking up when they oh so politely set off fireworks at 8AM, I decided to hit the hot tub. Happy new year to me! I'm going to try to get in more often; I think it will help me recover from my workouts faster (so I can do more)!
Mid-day hottubbing; a great start to the new year!

The second highlight of the first week of 2013 was this pizza, made in spite of repeated food science and equipment malfunctions. Yes, this pizza was made without a working oven. Yes, it was also delicious. A great team effort!

Pesto, mozzarella, parmesan, olives, chicken, roasted pepper, tomatoes, zuchinni, yum!