Monday, January 28, 2013

Super awkward and a misbehaving shin.

I just want to preface this post by saying this is as awkward for you as it is for me. I'm not really used to taking pictures, especially not for a blog, and super especially not pictures of myself to put on a blog. But here we are now, you all get to admire my leg.

If you've read any of my other posts (you only have 4 to choose from...), you'll know that I started my blog to vent frustration over shin pain. Naming my blog after the tibia in question was (and is...) a way to remind myself that I'm not superhuman, I have to listen to my body, I need to take care of myself, and if I don't, then I really will have a broken tibia. I tend to have an all-or-none attitude - I jumped into marathon training from next-to-nothing fitness-wise and completely ran through a knee and hip injury. I never said I was smart. But I am stubborn. This time around I'm working on increasing the smart and decreasing the stubborn.

Anyway, the point being: I am now finding myself struggling again with my shin again. I took some time off running a few weeks ago. When I came back, my shin was a little tender, but not painful. After a few more days, it felt fine. But now I'm experiencing discomfort in another region...

 The newest angry spot on my leg. Sigh...

This has been uncomfortable for maybe a week. I've never noticed it during my runs, but I've noticed some irritation after. If you can't tell, it's on the lateral side of my tibia, not directly on top of it. I've been icing it and I haven't been too concerned about it. But today I took my dog on a pretty long walk and it seemed to get irritated from that.

And the old region is a little irritated too now.

The old angry region. Double sigh...

So here is the dilemma: I am super paranoid about stress fractures. I have a 5k this weekend and I have my eye on a half-marathon in April and a full marathon in June. I am completely set on making it to the starting line injury-free. I do not have health insurance, so I can't go see a doctor. Instead, I am accepting anecdotes, words of wisdom, words of support, and any informed opinions that you may have. It's not quite the same as a bone scan, but that's what is in my price range right now. Dear readers, what do you think of this predicament?

And since I am actively working on showing gratitude for things in my life, here is a short list:

1. I am grateful for my socks. I like to buy the seasonal socks at Target (the 2 pairs for $5 deal - the other pair is blue with snowpeople). Even though I'm kind of bummed about my leg acting up, my socks do make me feel a little bit better. Yes, I am a child on the inside.

2. I am grateful that my friend's dad is a physical therapist. I may have to go find him and trade him some homemade cookies for his expertise.

And 3. I am grateful that my mom has an elliptical so I can get some low-impact exercise in. :)

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Have you ever had a stress fracture and/or shin splints? What did it feel like?

What races do you have coming up?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Carrying things and calf knots.

I have been ruminating over the ever-present runner problem of how to carry all your stuff on a run. I used to not carry anything when I ran, but I learned the hard way (several times) that it's a bad idea to a) not have your phone and b) not have a reliable way to carry your things (phone, gels, keys, etc) that doesn't involve wearing a jacket because it's the only garment you own with zippered pockets. I thought about getting an armband. But I hate armbands. And if I get a new phone (some day...), I would have to buy a new armband as well and I don't really want to do that.

Enter Spibelt.

Sorry about the terrible picture quality. I know zero things about photography. But I do love polka dots. :)


A quick Google search turned up this baby. Spibelts are glorified fanny packs. But they are so amazing that it's okay. It stretches to fit whatever I want to carry, which means no more losing my car keys because my jacket pocket has a hole in it. The Spibelt doesn't bounce, it doesn't move (usually), and it comes in lots of ADD colors for ADD people (or just plain black for the grownups). You can buy them online or I found mine at Dick's Sporting Goods (I still laugh a little on the inside whenever I read/hear/say that name. I am 7 years old apparently...).

I lost his mate on the way to a laundromat in Madrid. I am disturbingly attached to my socks 
and didn't want to throw the loner away. Yes, everything I just said is completely true...

The next amazing thing to come into my life is my sock buddy. I know, you're so lucky to get this view of one of my socks. Go find a (clean) sock, fill it with rice, knot/sew/use a hair tie on the end, pop it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, sing your praises of me. On one of my runs earlier this week, I felt a knot pop up in my calf. It was sudden, unexpected, and mildly uncomfortable. It felt like someone stuck a fork in my calf and tried to wind spaghetti around the tines. After I was done with the run, I couldn't feel the discomfort any more (duh, you don't use your calves when you're sitting and watching Arrested Development), so I didn't do it anything about it. I've just made a huge mistake...

I went for my run the next day and...oh hey there calf! You feel 10x worse than yesterday! The first thing I did when I got home was try to spend some quality time with my foam roller. But my calf was in so much pain that I couldn't even roll - I just ended up sitting with my calf on the foam roller and scrunching my face through the pain. I decided I needed to try to relax the muscle first. I alternated between my sock buddy and the foam roller over the course of the next day and a half and my calf is feeling pretty good! Hooray for new running gear and for (hopefully) many more hassle-free and pain-free miles!!

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How do you carry your stuff on a run?

Do you listen to music when you run or do you prefer au natural?

Friday, January 18, 2013

I am grateful for courage.


There are certain things I won't do by myself. In college, I refused to go to the dining hall by myself. If I couldn't find someone to go with me, I wouldn't eat. It seems completely ridiculous now. I don't have any friends where I live, so the only time I leave my house is when I need to do something. This has been negatively affecting my mood lately, so I took a bold step and decided to go out and do something just for me. Just for fun. And just because.
Standing at the bottom and looking up.

This is Bishop's Peak. The trail is 1.6 miles one way with about 1000 feet gain in elevation. On the way out to the trail and for part of the way up, I felt so timid. I was so self-conscious of myself and the fact that I was alone. I don't even know why. Maybe it's just habit. When I got to the trailhead, I almost turned around and drove home. I decided that since I took the time to go all the way out there, I should at least check it out for a little bit.

The view from halfway up. 

As I started climbing, I realized that most of the hikers came by themselves. I wasn't special and I certainly wasn't abnormal. Apparently people do lots of things by themselves and this is normal and considered healthy. (I'm only kind of sarcastically saying that)

Blurry. I thought someone was behind me and I didn't want to stop walking while taking the picture.

It was so calming to spend some quality time outside. It gave me the chance to deeply appreciate how beautiful nature is and I felt so much more peaceful after my hike. I realized that stepping outside of my comfort zone can be a truly wonderful experience and I should probably do things like this more often. I need to learn how to be more comfortable with myself and how to have the courage to stand up by myself.

This experience allowed me to be grateful for having the courage to go out and not only face something that makes me uncomfortable, but to embrace it and to find the positives in the situation.

And then, in typical Me Fashion, I was so cold by the time I got back to my car (Did you hear about the cold spell that hit the southwest and all the weak-blooded Californians were complaining? Yeah, consider me one of those Californians - I was freezing my butt off!!) that I couldn't feel my legs very well. I ended up smacking my shin with the car door because I couldn't tell where my legs were. I hit the shin that has been bothering me too. Smooth.

In running news: I did 2 very tentative miles on Sunday to test out my leg. It was still a little irritated, but not painful. I decided to rest after the hike (apparently climbing over rocks and jumping doesn't feel very good with shin splints...) but I went for 3 miles on Wednesday. With some yoga sessions mixed in there, I'm feeling pretty good and I'm pumped to knock out another run tomorrow!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A New Perspective.

I wasn't feeling particularly inspired to run today, but I figured I should test the waters. It's been 5 days since I last ran. I was trying to find the balance between giving my leg enough rest and not losing fitness (I don't have much going for me in that department right now...)

This was just one of those really frustrating runs. I hopped on the neighbors' treadmill just in case my leg started bothering me again and I could jump off immediately. Back when I was marathon training, I ran through my knee pain until it got so unbearable that I had to stop. Often times I would reach that point when I was 6+ miles away from the carpool and it took me for. ev. er. to walk back.

But anyway...it just felt like everything was wrong during this run. My leg wasn't bothering me like it did on my last run, but it just seemed like little muscles all over my calves and ankles and feet were getting really fatigued. I couldn't keep a steady pace. I was weaving back and forth on the treadmill. My shorts were riding up (an unnecessary reminder that my thighs were rubbing together).

In general, I'm feeling really discouraged. I'm frustrated that I'm slow. I'm frustrated that my leg bothers me. I'm frustrated that I've gained weight. Gah.

I've been thinking about what direction I want to take my blog. I'm not always cheerful; I think I've displayed that quite well in my modest 2 posts. But with that being said, I want to use this blog to focus on the positive aspects of life. I want to highlight things that I find inspiring, humorous, and uplifting so that it will help me be more appreciative of life. I truly believe that by complaining out loud (or in writing...), we are only enhancing our own misery, and this is a habit that I would very much like to break.

So to turn the mood of this post around: I am grateful for the ability to run. I am grateful that I have the time, resources, space, and general safety to be able to do so, even on the days when my run is not going well.

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What helped you improve your form?

What do you do when you're having an awful run?

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First Lie.

Okay okay. My tibia isn't actually broken.

I know, what a great start, right? I'm already lying to you guys.

So my tibia isn't really broken. I have a shin splint. Not as exciting, amirite?? (But probably better for my broke, uninsured butt...er...leg)

But seriously. I'm feeling a flair for the dramatic this time, because this time, unlike previous times, I am actually fessing up to something in my body being not quite right. And this time, unlike previous times, I'm taking a break from running to allow my body to heal.

That last sentence sounds like my life should be so very zen. But I'm actually really grumpy. And I'm stubborn. Past me would have ignored the discomfort and kept running. Current me is (trying to be) smart. It comes at the expense of also being very frustrated. And that's why I'm here - so I can string various words into nonsensical sentences and release them into the blogosphere in hopes of finding some sort of mental, and in the mean time hopefully physical, release from this current predicament.

Here is a picture of my shoes. I think they're the reason my leg hurts.


I actually really like them. Significantly less now that my leg hurts. But I'm sure our relationship will be repaired as soon as I'm back on my feet.

Real quick, about me: I'm a 20-something recent college grad. I love everything related to running, pandas, corgis, baking, and vegan food. I'm not vegan though. I've been running casually for almost 6 years, but I still don't consider myself A Runner. Writing is not something that comes easily to me, so hopefully I get better as I keep my blog updated!!

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When did you get into running? When was the last time you were injured?