Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I went to the hip doctor yesterday. I told her what had been happening -- that I thought I had IT band syndrome in my right leg, took a week off, ran 10 miles and felt fine, then switched shoes and started to get a new pain in my left leg, ran 11 miles and had some serious pain and couldn't lift my leg, took a week off, ran the half-marathon and felt pain in my left leg again. I said I thought the newer injury might be a hip flexor something-or-other; she did a couple tests and said I was right: I have hip flexor tendinitis.

When I told her I ran the half-marathon the day before, I was a little afraid she'd scold me or say I was insane. Instead, she said, "Oh, the More Magazine/fitness Magazine Half-Marathon in the rain yesterday? How'd it go?" Loved it! She said I would probably benefit from a couple sessions of physical therapy to learn the strengthening exercises so I'm going to start that next week. She also said she didn't think new shoes would cause the injury, so it might have just been some overuse.

Of course, I asked if I could still run, and I can! She said she didn't see why not, but I might just want to do some lower impact stuff this week. So today I did the elliptical for a bit and made my triumphant return to total body conditioning.

All in all it was a great visit and I really liked her -- especially since she said I can still run! I'm going to keep an eye on it though and be careful. And I'm going to properly break in my new shoes!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

27 seconds!

On a day when I'm slightly injured, it poured rain the whole morning, I didn't push myself as hard as I probably could, and (according to my Garmin) the course was 0.15 miles too long, I beat my last half-marathon time by 27 seconds. 27 seconds!!! Woo hoo!

The day started like most race days -- half a wheat bagel with peanut butter and half a banana, some water, and some coffee. B and I left the apartment at 7am to make it to the race course (which started near W. 63rd and Central Park West) by 8am. It. Was. Pouring. Pouring down rain. The NYRR 8k had nothing on this rain. I was soaked to the bone within the first mile. I have to say though, I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would. Aside from having to wring out my sleeves every once in a while, it wasn't that bad to run in the rain.

I definitely started the race wondering if I could make it through the whole thing (and thinking that I probably wouldn't), but I decided to push those thoughts aside and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other and making it as far as I could. Honestly, the race went by much faster than I'd expected. I thought with the terrible weather it would be miserable, but I felt good and strong the whole time. There were only a couple of steps I took where I had a bit of pain in my hip, but other than that I felt great! I had a Powerade gel at mile 6.5 that pushed me through, and when the Glee version of "Like A Prayer" came on shortly thereafter, I was PUMPED! Here's a look at my playlist for the race:
I copied this from Last.fm since I usually just make a playlist and put it on shuffle, so I'm not sure all my songs made it on there (for instance, I distinctly remember hearing "Like A Prayer", but Last.fm didn't scrobble it over to the site). Must give a shoutout to Girl Talk, Miley, Muse and Glee for pulling me through!

So now with the Garmin issue. I'm not sure what the deal was, but I started the Garmin right as I crossed the starting line, and for some reason it was beeping that a mile had passed before I passed the mile marker on the course. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing that beep come before you can even SEE the mile marker! I don't know if the course was off or my Garmin was off, but I stopped my Garmin when I hit 13.1 miles (2:04:51!), and then restarted it...it went another 0.15 miles (1 min 19 seconds!) before I reached the finish line. So here's the first 13.1 miles:

And here's the last 0.15 miles:

Who knows, seems like all my electronics were off today, so maybe it was my Garmin and not the course. But if you ran the course and had this happen too, let me know!

I crossed with an official time of 2:06:11. While I am very happy with this time -- who doesn't love a PR, even if it's just by a few seconds?! -- I know that I did not push myself as hard as I could have. I had sort of planned going into it that I wasn't going to push myself extremely hard since I didn't want to destroy my hip, and my goal was to go as far as I can. Now that I know that I can push myself even harder (I definitely had plenty of gas left in the tank after this race, and did NOT give it my all like I did at the first half-marathon in September), my goal for the Brooklyn half-marathon will be to break 2 hours. I knooow I can do it!

And...my roommate B...who ran her FIRST HALF-MARATHON came in at 1:54:56!!!!! She is a badass. That's what I have to say about that.

The half-marathon was followed by a soaking wet walk to the 68th Street subway station (my hands were beYOND numb...and my left hand was suspiciously swollen! I think from the Garmin...), an extremely hot shower (soooo necessary!!!), and a burger, fries, salad and beer from Danal. I think I'm going to make the burger, fries and beer a post-half-marathon tradition -- it was what I had at Cafe Luxembourg after the Queens half-marathon and it was amaaazing. You need salt after you sweat so much, and that meal just really hits the spot! Of course, after all the running and the eating, a nap was in order!

I'm going to go do some more stretching, icing and then going off to bed before tomorrow's big doctor's appointment. I'll let you know what she says!

Yay for PRs! Yay for half-marathons! Yay FINISHING a half-marathon in the rain with a minor injury! Woo hooooo!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Half-marathon tomorrow!

Well the time has come...my first half-marathon of 2010 is tomorrow!

Not gonna lie, I took the week off from blogging because I took the week off of running. After the 11 miles last week, my hip was angry at me so I thought I'd treat it well and do some RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), skip the gym (I walked home from work a couple times, but didn't hit the gym at all), and stretch it out (in front of the TV after work). I think it's helping. I'm excited about the race tomorrow, but I'm not an idiot -- if I am dying of pain at any point in the race, I will stop running, even if it's at 110th St. on the west side!

It's not my first half-marathon -- if it was, I might be a little more determined and might be more stupid and run through any pain. But I've come to the realization that it's not a big deal if I have to stop. I'd rather be able to run the marathon in October than make it all the way through this race and end up with a more serious injury. I'm going to the doctor Monday though to have my hips checked out so hopefully that will give me a better idea of what's going on and what I can/can't or should/shouldn't do.

So we'll see what happens. Who knows, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and feel amazing! Either way, I'm going to try. As my dad said, "I think you'll regret it if you don't at least try." I agree. I'll try, I'll give it a shot, and if I can't make it all the way through, there's absolutely no shame in that!

I've got my race bib out, my Powerade gel ready, my playlist prepped and my outfit planned out (it's going to RAIN!!!). I've also decided that I'm going to switch back to my old shoes and properly break in the new ones after the race. I feel like part of the reason I'm injured is that I went too hard too fast in my new shoes and I need to ease into them better.

Time to get everything together now! Then off to bed! Woo hoo! Hopefully I'll be done in 12 hours!!! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

And then I got injured...again.

So this is cool...I just figured out how to embed my run from my Garmin activity site! Check it out!

I'll be back tomorrow with more, but this weekend was great -- Saturday was 60, sunny and breezy, which is perfect running weather. Not so perfect? My left hip (when I had IT band syndrome it was my RIGHT hip that hurt...so at least now it's changed sides)! I got back from the run around 2pm and spent the rest of the day (and a lot of Sunday) icing, stretching, and even having to lift my leg in order to get it to move higher than 6 inches off the ground. I'm better today, but I'm soooo glad it's a taper week so I can rest up before Sunday's half-marathon! I can't believe it's less than a week away!!! AAAHHH!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here we go

I started my morning off right today: half a crunchy peanut butter Clif bar, a 7-mile outdoor run, some excellent tunes -- including, but not limited to, Glee ("Hate On Me" really got me going) and Girl Talk (best running music EVER) -- and an awesome bowl of steel cut oatmeal. I had sort of thought about going for an outdoor run this morning as I was going to bed last night as it was supposed to be a bit chilly but sunny, and my mind was made up when my alarm went off at 5:30 -- too early! I reset it for 6 and waited till the sun rose (around 6:15) to set out on my run.

Of course, my Garmin decided to malfunction and I think it didn't work for the first half-mile of the run. I got it to kick in though, and for some reason I was feeling mighty quick on my feet this morning.
The first and last miles were supposed to be warm-up/cooldown miles, and apparently I was just not in the mood to warm up...I did walk for five or so minutes before starting out, but I just felt so quick! So I went with it. The last mile however...I was beat. I definitely used that as a cooldown mile. Plus that last mile was along 15th Street, which involves a lot of crosswalks so I had to stop/start my watch a few times.

I found that I was able to keep a pretty quick pace (for me) during the run when I focused on something in the distance -- sort of like how when I'm racing and pick people to pass and use them as markers, I used buildings, billboards and traffic lights to use as markers. I really got in the zone whenever a Girl Talk song came on, particularly "What It's All About" -- the line "Oh s***, here we go" right in the beginning of the song really pumped me up. Because, um...YEAH, OH S***, HERE WE GO! That song will figure prominently in my half-marathon track list. It really got me going and kept me in the zone. It was really perfect. Also good: Glee's "Somebody to Love" and "Bust the Windows"...and "Hate On Me" of course. Who knew show choir songs could be so motivating?!

I went up the West Side Highway, along one of my favorite routes and pretty much the same one that I did on Saturday.

It was such a perfect morning for a run outside. It was cool and breezy but nice enough to wear shorts -- and break in my new shoes! However, I think I may have been a bit overzealous with them...my leg is hurrrting me today. I don't think I stretched enough after the run or something, but tonight I did a LOT of stretching to try and make up for it. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. It's not my IT band again (I don't think...). It feel like it's more in my hip, but the same leg as the IT band issue. We'll see how I feel tomorrow, but for now I might be taking it easy and skipping the gym to help me recover.

Ten days till the first spring half-marathon...HERE WE GO!!!

What's your "in the zone" song?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick update

I LOVE my new shoes...not as much arch support as I'm used to, but I knew that they would take some getting used to. I've only run four miles in them so far, but I can tell they will take me to wonderful places!

Thanks Jack Rabbit!

Today I did the elliptical just to kind of ease into the shoes. The Jack Rabbit salesperson said I should take it easy with the new shoes since it'll be a bit of a new way to run, and I definitely don't want to overdo it. I've got a bit of hip pain, but the IT band seems to be doing quite well! I'll keep icing and foam rolling just to be sure, but so far so good. Looking forward to tomorrow's longer run, and this weekend's 11-miler to be done along the Potomac (since I'll be home with my family in Alexandria, Va.).

Total body conditioning totally kicked my butt today and I'm already sore. I read a short article on the New York Times site about how fewer reps with heavier weights helps to tone muscle better than higher reps with lower weights, so with that in mind I upped my weights from 8 lbs to 10 lbs for my heaviest (keeping the lighter weights close by in case I needed them...which I did!).
I realize that this revelation is not anything new really, but it did give me the kick in the butt I needed to get over my fear of bulking up using 10 lbs and finally give them a try. And I'm glad that I did! Can't wait to keep them near me in future total body conditioning classes.

Bed time for me! Good night!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

10 miles!

I did it! I did it! I ran 10 miles! And I didn't die! And I didn't hurt! Well, OK, near the end I had a litttttle bit of pain, but I was OK. Afterward I stretched a lot and walked home with B.

Here are our splits and map:
Pretty good considering I took a week off of running and only did 2- or 3-mile runs. Our run took us up to Riverside Park, to about W. 90th St.

After the run, I decided to stop by Jack Rabbit Sports on 14th Street to see if they could check out my gait. I've read that a big reason that many runners get injured is that they're wearing the wrong shoes. I've been told since high school that I overpronate and so have always worn a stability shoe. I've even gone to a running store and had them watch me run to make sure I have the right shoes. Jack Rabbit really went above and beyond though -- I've seen places that do this, but hadn't yet experienced it. Jack Rabbit put me in a neutral shoe and had me run on a treadmill while they videotaped my feet from behind. From what I could gather, they were looking to see how my feet fell on the treadmill. They're looking for a 90 degree angle of the heel to the treadmill, and apparently my heel falls right at 90 degrees! I don't overpronate! This revelation seriously rocked my world -- I don't overpronate?! My shoes could be the reason why I'm injured?!?! I tried on a few other neutral shoes and ended up going with the Saucony ProGrid Triumph 7 shoes in this extremely snazzy and attention-getting color:
Nice, eh?

I can't wait to break these bad boys in with a 4-mile run tomorrow. The Jack Rabbit running guy said I should take it pretty easy while I break these shoes in since I'm going to need to get used to this newish way of running. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lessons learned: Rest to heal

So I took a week off from running to heal my injured IT band. Instead, I rode the stationary bike, did a little elliptical, lifted some weights, walked, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d a lot. I also iced, rolled over the foam roller (AMAZING!), and iced some more. I tried running on Tuesday, and managed to do about 1.85 miles before I headed to total body conditioning class. I took it easy on my IT band, avoiding lunges and just doing my best in the class. Thursday I ran 3 miles!!! Woo hoo!

It felt like such an accomplishment, but since I have 10 miles scheduled for my training tomorrow, it seems pretty small. Even though I'm pretty sure I won't be able to do the whole 10 miles, I'm not going to decide ahead of time if I can. I'm going to go, bring my Metro card in case I can't finish it, and just do my best.

I've learned a lot in the process of this injury (short as this process may have been...) -- as hard as it is to take time off and not do something that I love, it's very important to do so in order to heal. It's given me a bit more perspective and helped me realize that not only is it OK to take a break, it's sometimes necessary. I read a recent article in Runner's World that had a quote from an orthopedic surgeon who tells all her injured patients, "Just wait. You're going to appreciate running so much more." And I think that I will...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipes for Health: Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad

Last week I had a few carrots leftover from when I made the white bean burgers, so obviously I referred to Martha Rose Shulman for an inspired Recipe for Health. I came across this interesting sounding recipe for Moroccan cooked carrot salad and decided that as odd as it sounded (cumin and carrots?!), it seemed like a great way to use up the carrots. I don't really like carrots plain -- even dipped in peanut butter I don't think that they're that great.

Let me tell you, this recipe was absolutely delicious! I even had my roommate B try a slice and she was very impressed. I served it up with a bit of chicken and a mish-mash I made of red quinoa, corn and edamame (another stellar "recipe").

Since I only had a few carrots I didn't follow this recipe to a T, but guesstimated a bit and just went with how much seemed like a good amount. I hope you enjoy!

Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad

1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pureed in a mortar and pestle with 1/4 teaspoon salt
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground - I just used cumin powder
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley - I didn't have any so I didn't use this

For garnish:
Imported black olives - I didn't use these
2 hard boiled eggs, cut in wedges (optional)

  1. Place the carrots in a steamer above 1 inch of boiling water, cover and steam 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat, rinse with cold water, and drain on paper towels.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the garlic smells fragrant, and stir in the carrots, pepper, and salt to taste. Stir together for a few minutes, until the carrots are nicely seasoned. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and the parsley. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as desired. Transfer to a platter, and decorate with olives and hard-boiled eggs if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving. The dish, without the lemon juice and parsley, will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on top of the stove and add the lemon juice and parsley.

Approximate Nutritional Information (per Serving): Calories: 187; Total Fat: 13.7g; Saturated Fat: 2.3g; Cholesterol: 93mg; Sodium: 189mg; Total Carbohydrates: 13.7g; Dietary Fiber: 3.8g; Sugars: 5.9g; Protein: 4.3g; Vitamin A 388 percent recommended daily allowance (RDA) based on a 2,000 calorie diet; Vitamin C 29 percent RDA; Calcium 7 percent RDA; Iron 10 percent RDA (Approximate nutritional information provided by calorie-count.com)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

California and an injury

I had a really fantastic time in L.A.! I got in Thursday and as soon as my friends and I had lunch together, Caity went to prep for her play, T went back to work, and C and I went to Santa Monica. BEACH!
I was a little excited. Obviously, when you come from New York where it's been cold, rainy, and windy, the only appropriate response is to do a cartwheel.

My IT band was acting up, so although C and I wanted to go for a run, I decided I should refrain so that it wouldn't get worse. Instead we went to the beach and walked around. Almost the same as a run, right?

The next day my IT band was feeling a little better so I (stupidly?) decided to go for a 4-mile run, which turned into a 5-mile run, around Brentwood Country Club near T and Caity's apartment.
Hilly as it was, I felt like my splits were actually pretty awesome!
(Ignore laps 6 and 7...accidentally hit "start" when I shouldn't have)

It had some hills (not good for the IT band) but overall it was a really great run and I felt so good afterward. I felt like I could have kept going, and my IT band wasn't hurting at all! I have to say though, it is SO dry out in L.A...I was dying for water during the run.

Saturday was a beach day, so Sunday T and I went to Runyon Canyon in Hollywood for a 3-mile hike.
 The hike was beautiful -- we could see downtown L.A.,
the Hollywood sign,
and zillions of adorable dogs. I was so excited I had to JUMP!
Yeah I suck at jumping. Don't judge me.

Afterward we had pancakes that were twice the size of my head. Literally.
And they were amazing. If you ever find yourself on Sunset Blvd. in L.A., GO TO THE GRIDDLE CAFE!


Monday before I left Caity and I went on a little jog (again, I so should not have gone...stupid IT band!) around her neighborhood. I basically wandered around but stayed close so I wouldn't get lost/miss my Supershuttle/have to stay in L.A...actually, that would have been PERFECT! Next time...
As you can see, the trip was amazing and it was so good/necessary to get out of New York and soak up some sunshine. I definitely plan on going back next year, and T is coming out here Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to have to find the restaurant that has New York's largest pancakes and take her there. If you know it, leave a comment below.

Unfortunately, I now have an injury three weeks before my half-marathon. BAH! I'm not running this week (SAD!!!) and it's making me a little crazy. That, by the way, is a feeling I NEVER imagined I'd have...sadness that I can't run?! Who have I become? A running addict, that's what!

I just have to remember that RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) will help and I will come out better and stronger after this injury. I think God is just getting illness and injury out of the way one right after the other and that'll keep me free and clear for a while. That's my hope, anyway.

I'm doing a lot of stretches, icing it at night, taking ibuprofen, and riding the stationary bike and lifting for my workouts. It's not running, but it will keep me strong and let my IT band heal.

What's your worst running injury? What did you do to help it out?