Three Things

Thursday is here and I’m starting to see the end of the work-week tunnel!

We all experience set-backs in life, and lately I feel like I’ve experienced set-back after set-back. I hurt my foot a few weeks ago after spending a whole weekend painting. I stressed over my injury and forced myself to rest and not run, which for a runner, is a very stressful experience. I’m not a good injured person. I get frustrated, angry, and antsier than a two-year old in church. But it seemed to pay off, because I returned to running last Friday and haven’t looked back. I’ve experienced no pain during the run, after the run, and my foot usually feels better in the hours after I’m finished. I do experience a LITTLE tightness in the morning, but after walking around for a few minutes, it disappears. Yay! Looks like I’ll definitely be able to run the 5k this weekend!

After running a couple of times this past weekend, I decided to take it to the streets on Tuesday. I geared up, compression sleeves and all – I felt legit, I felt strong, I felt psyched.

Then my Garmin couldn’t get a signal. Seriously Garmin? I know it’s been a while since I’ve used you, but COME ON! After giving up with my useless technology, I said screw it and just kept going. Everything was great, but then around mile two, I had another incident; one even more annoying than the first. I’m going to spare you the details, but let’s just say my intestines hated me. I’ve had GI issues before while running, and it’s a pretty common experience that most runners have at some point in their running career. After cutting out a lot of dairy (specifically milk) from my diet, the problem was diminished drastically. But on this day, during this run, it decided to make an appearance. I ended up walking a mile home and spent the rest of the night back and forth between the bathroom. Not fun.

I felt so defeated. Why was my body acting this way? What did I eat that day that made me feel this way? Why can’t my mind and my body sync up?

Flash forward to last night. It was a new day – I was going to try this again!

I suited up, and made my way out. I waited for my Garmin to crap out on me again, but it didn’t! Signal was reached and I was on my way. It was the best 4.5 miles I’ve run in recent memory. I wanted to go slow and strong and I did! No speed intervals. No tempo or threshold run. Just plain running. I finished at a 9:12 mi/mil pace and didn’t have any GI issues! Success all around!

I can’t get down about these frustrations. In the grand scheme of life and my running career, a couple bonked runs are not a big deal. Two weeks of rest because of a funky foot is not a big deal. There are much worst things in life, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I was made ever more aware of that yesterday morning after finding out that they found the body of the missing BC student, Franco Garcia, floating in the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I run around that Reservoir all the time. I’ve seen his family handing out flyers. I’ve seen the ‘Missing Student’ signs all over light posts. It breaks my heart to know that his family is going through something like this. In the days and weeks moving forward we’ll find out what happened to him, but for now, I’m thankful that everyone in my life is safe and sound. His family is in my thoughts, and I wish that you include him and his family in yours.

So on that note – today, I am thankful for many things, but three in particular are:

  1. Healed foot = 5K is a go on Sunday!
  2. I got to Skype chat yesterday with one of my best friends and old roommate from college, Gabby. She’s in Rome, Italy right now working on her Master’s in Architecture. I miss her dearly, so it was awesome to get to talk to her for a little while.
  3. The health and safety of my family and friends. Anything can happen anywhere and it’s been made more and more apparent to me lately with what happened. Hug your loved ones!

I miss you, Gabby!

Have you ever experienced GI problems on a run? Any tips for combating them? Foods to cut out? How do you deal with frustrating and disappointing runs?

What I Learned from Half-Marathon Training

Happy Spring everyone! There’s really nothing better than some fresh flowers on the first day of Spring.

I’m still basking in the glow of my first half-marathon this past Sunday. Over the last couple of days, as people have asked me “so how was it?”, I’ve describe it as, “The most physically and mentally demanding thing I’ve ever done in my life.” I honestly was prepared for the physical demand of the race, but the mental demand of the race was something that I was not quite as prepared for. There was a point in the race where I just wanted to quit. I wanted to walk off the course, find one of the many cops lining the edge of the course and say, “that’s it. I’m done.”

But I didn’t.

I pushed through. I got through these rough moments by thinking about Bernie and my parents and friends waiting for me at the finish line. I knew they would be there, with funny signs in hand, and cheering loudly. I couldn’t let them down. I worked too hard to not make it all the way.

Immediately after finishing, I knew that half-marathons were for me. I’m so ready to do another one! There’s a half in Boston in October that I plan on doing, and I’m looking forward to start training again. I’m already looking up training plans to help me shed my time. 2:12 is a good base, and I want to improve upon it.

As with everything in life, training was definitely a learning experience. I had never really trained diligently for a race before, so this was the first time. A few things I learned while training for my first half-marathon include:

  • PB/banana toast is my go-to pre-run fuel. There’s a reason a lot of people eat it before running, it works.
  • Fruit flavored Gu’s are WAYYYY better than the other non-fruit Gu’s.
  • Chomps don’t always sit well with my stomach. Use with caution.
  • My fuel belt was the best $40 I’ve ever spent.
  • When in doubt, go to the chiropractor. When my lower back/hips were hurting, the chiropractor fixed it and taught me at-home exercises that I could do to make them stronger. I’m officially a chiro convert.
  • There’s a really nice bathroom in the Boston Common. It came in handy many times.
  • My body can do amazing things. I learned that my body is so much stronger than I thought it was. I can push it harder than I ever thought I could. I need to trust it more.
  • Self confidence and body love. I haven’t always had the best love affair with my body, but after running the marathon, I am in awe of what it can do. I will no longer take it for granted and will appreciate every muscle.
  • Compression shorts are the JAM! I won a pair of Aspaeris compression shorts on Julie’s blog (I was shocked – I never win anything) and they are the greatest invention known to man. I wore them the nights leading up to the race, and immediately after the race, and over the last two nights post-race. It’s now 2 days after the race and I have no muscle soreness. If you often have hip pain after running long runs, invest in some high-quality compression shorts for recovery. I swear to you – they’re miraculous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Running really is for me. Some people run a big race like a half-marathon and realize that running is just not for them. After my experience on Sunday, my love for running has been reaffirmed. Running is definitely for me.

I’m already looking forward to my next race – the B.A.A 5k the day before the Boston Marathon. Steph and I are running the race, and then will spend the next day cheering on the Boston runners! It’s going to be a blast!

Until next time; readers – have you ever experienced similar mental blocks during a race like I did? How did you overcome them? What has running taught you? Share!

New Bedford Half Marathon Race Recap

I did it! I ran 13.1 miles and finished my first half marathon!

I couldn’t be more prouder of myself and my roommate Steph – who PR’ed!

Let’s go back to yesterday. The night before I packed everything I would need in my bag, created my playlist, and charged my iPod.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early. I slept like a BABY – I was really surprised. I thought I was going to be nervous and toss and turn all night. I had my normal pre-run breakfast, got dressed, and off we went. New Bedford is about an hour and ten minutes from Boston, and we made it in about that time. No traffic. Parking at the race was actually really easy. There were a ton of people there, but parking lots were numerous and had spaces left.

Steph and I made our way to get out numbers and boy, was it crowded! This year they had their largest field ever – 3,350 runners. Last year it was 2,730 – the largest to date.

After getting our numbers, we got ready, warmed up, and took some pictures to remember the moment. My parents came from NY to watch, and our Boston support group included Bernie, Steph’s boyfriend Micah, and our friend Devon.

Then we made our way to the start. It was a beautiful day in New England – 60 degrees and sunny. Perfect for a race.

And we’re off!

For the first two miles, Steph and I ran together. We were going at a good pace and I felt really good, but I knew something was wrong. I was going WAYYYY too fast way too early. For the first two miles, I averaged an 8:30 – 8:40 pace. I knew I had to slow down, so I told Steph to go for it, and off she went. After mile 2 there was a HUGE hill. It looked scary and it sucked, but since it was so early in the race, it really wasn’t that bad. I was enjoying the race and loved seeing all the signs that people brought to cheer on the racers. At the 10k mark, I clocked in at 55:32. But then. The wall.

I have never actually hit the proverbial ‘wall’ while running. I think it was a mixture of the heat, the constant sun beating down on us, and my big rookie mistake – going out too fast too early. As you can see from my splits, everything went down hill at mile 8. I was overheated, dehydrated, and tired. I had nothing left. I took a Gu at mile 6, but it sat like the biggest rock in my stomach.

The last 5.1 miles were the roughest miles of my life. At mile 8-10, the course looped around the edge of the ocean, so the breeze both cooled me off, and slowed me down. At this point in the race, I knew my goal of running a sub-2 hours was not within my reach. My goal at this point was to just finish strong. I began to walk through every water station, taking in as much water as I could. Every mile, I promised myself that I would walk for 30 seconds.

I hated myself during these miles. I started to beat myself up for quitting. I felt like my Gu was going to come up for a few miles. It was the toughest moment of my life. Mile 12 was another hill, a sort of heart-break hill like in the Boston Marathon. As I was running up the mile 12 hill, I started to see more and more runners who had already finished lining up the sides of the course, cheering on runners. At one point, a man who was sitting on the curb with a finishers medal around his neck looked me directly in the eye and said, “Don’t stop! You’re almost at the top…it’s all down hill from there!!”

That was it. I was going to finish. At that point, I knew that I was going to finish the race. I turned the corner and saw the finishing line. It was the most glorious sight I had ever seen.

One of our signs. Probably my favorite.

Then, I spotted them – my cheerleaders! They had made a couple of signs and once I saw the “Your feet hurt because you’re kicking so much ass!” sign, I knew it was them. Clearly I was happy.

I crossed the line in 2:12:58, and honestly, I didn’t care. I finished. I finished running strong and I didn’t vomit on myself! I was so ecstatic! It took a few minutes for it all to sink in. Once I found everyone, I found out that Steph beat her last half marathon time by a whole 15 minutes!! She finished in 1:49:56! She’s a rock star and I’m so proud of her!

Bernie came up to me after the race and said “I had a great time! I totally see why you did this! I want to do some 5k’s with you!” That took me back completely. Bernie has been very supportive during my training, but he always thought I was crazy. He didn’t get it – why would I run this? Only crazy people run long distances for no reason. After he experienced the excitement of the race and the energy, he was totally into it! I’m excited that he wants to do some 5k’s!

After the race, we stretched out, changed and went to find some food. My stomach was pretty unsettled for a good hour after the race, and I couldn’t even think about food, but we ended up at the Waterfront Grille for some seafood and beer. Steph and I had some celebratory drinks while we waited for our food.

Devon and Micah

Overall, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The satisfaction and pure joy that I experienced when I crossed the finish line was worth every shitty mile. There is another half I plan on doing in October, so I’m going to take this experience and learn from it. There are definitely a few things that I know I will fix for next time:

  1. Wear my fuel belt with my own water. I got so dehydrated and I was jealous of every person with their own water on the course.
  2. DO NOT GO OUT TOO FAST. I need to slow the hell down! I went out way too fast. If this was a 10 k, then I did awesome. But it wasn’t.
  3. Eat more breakfast if I’m eating 4 hours before the race. I only had one piece of pb toast and banana for breakfast. My stomach felt weird in the morning, and I didn’t want to stuff more food in it. Bad decision. I needed more fuel. And the chomps I had right before running did not settle well in my stomach.
  4. Wear sunscreen, even if it’s a March race. I got burned. Ouch. Who wears sunscreen in March?!

For now, I’m still basking in the glow of the race. Now I’m off to foam roll my tired muscles. Thank you to everyone for all your comments of encouragement on the blog yesterday! It definitely helped! And a big thank you to Steph, Micah, Devon, Bernie, and my parents – you guys were the best cheerleaders/supporters ever!

Cutting Myself Some Slack

I loved hearing all about the things you’re most thankful for/are loving yesterday. Sounds like a few of you also are in love with French bulldogs. Who could say no to this face?!

Let’s talk about the big elephant in the room for a second.

Cue the panic!

Last night, I went for an easy 4 mile run outside. The weather here has been beyond gorgeous. I ran in shorts and a tank top and was SWEATING after 4 miles. It also was a pretty tough 4 miles.

Notttttttttt exactly the splits that I like seeing. My hips were EXTREMELY tight. I think I overdid it on Monday at the gym with the squats and the hip strengthening moves. I need to remind myself that I should be taking it easier this week, since it is taper week. Steph and I went for our final long run on Sunday – a pretty nice 8.5 miles.

(my garmin took half a mile to finish loading the satellite signal…weird. Just add .6 miles to this.)

This whole positive split thing seems to be a theme. I’m not too worried – I need to remind myself that with New Bedford being my first half marathon, and the first time ever running 13.1 miles, I need to cut myself a little slack. I’d love to finish the race in under 2 hours, but if that doesn’t happen, I can’t beat myself up over it. Just training for this race has been a challenge – if I want to come out of it injury free (minus some soreness) I need to just chill out on the self-induced pressure. I’m a perfectionist, I always have been. There is no such thing as half-assing anything with me. This is a blessing, but also a curse. Over the next 4 days, I plan to focus on the fun aspect of the race and how crazy and cool it is that I committed myself to training for something for 15 weeks straight. That’s an accomplishment even in itself! Who cares if I run a sub 2-hour half marathon! I certainly do, but I really shouldn’t. That’s my goal for the next few days.

 

Readers: Are you also a perfectionist like me? How do you relax before a big race? Any tips for how to let go of the self-induced pressure and just have fun? Any half-marathoners out there with tips for Sunday?!

Double Digits

I accomplished something today that I thought I never would. I pushed myself mentally when I felt like quitting, and I pushed myself physically when I thought my legs were going to give out. Today I ran 10 miles!

I’ve never done a double digit mile run before, and I wasn’t planning on it this morning when I woke up for my weekly long run. My training plan called for a 10k race (or pseudo race) but I felt like I should just keep going with this thing I’ve been doing where I increase my long runs every week by 1 mile. I was all set today to do 9 miles. So I got up, ate my breakfast, hydrated, and was off.

Boston is an amazing city to live in if you’re a runner – you never feel like you’re alone running out there. Where I live, I’m about 2 blocks away from the Boston Marathon course. Every weekend, you can’t go anywhere in my neighborhood without coming across someone running. Training groups are constantly training in my neighborhood, flying by in groups of 20 as they down their Gu’s and gatorade. Today as I was running down Beacon St. I saw a sign that said “Runners rest stop – water, bathroom, Gu’s” on the sidewalk – it was a running association shop. How cool is that!? I love the support in Boston for runners. I always seem to get high fives, cheers, or words of encouragement from passers by.

That encouragement definitely helped me today during my run. I started out by doing a few loops of the Cleveland Circle Reservoir. I’ve been having a little pain in the outside of my knee which I think is associated with my tight hips and IT band. I thought it would be smart to do at least half of my run on the trail instead of the concrete sidewalks. After 4 miles, I broke off and headed toward Boston College and then back towards the city. At mile 5 1/2 I ate my gu and felt instantly better. I think taking the gu before I really need it (usually happens at mile 6) is the key. This whole fueling thing is such trial and error! Then I made it back to Cleveland Circle with about 1 mile to go. I decided to just go with it – I was feeling really great – and went all the way to Coolidge Corner, and then looped back. By the time I got to the street I usually stop at, I was at mile 9 1/2. There was no way I was stopping there, so I ran a little bit more to make it an even 10 miles. I was so excited when my Garmin beeped for my last lap. 10 miles?! Who runs 10 miles?! Not this guy! But I guess I do now!

Overall, I felt fantastic. My knee didn’t hurt at all (it hasn’t been hurting while running, it’s just tender to the touch in that area) and my hips felt loose. My goal for this run was to go slower! I’ve been running my long runs at marathon pace and was not recovering well. I know that long runs need to be run at 30 seconds to a minute slower than goal pace. I kept a 9:15 – 9:30 mile pace for a while and I’m happy with those consistent splits. Mile 9 was slow because I was going up hill the whole time and had a wicked head wind.

I’m in shock that I did that and I feel fantastic! My body already feels better than it did last week. I’m starting to get really jazzed about this race – I finally am starting to feel prepared. Now I’m off to spend the rest of the day chilling out with Bernie. We’re making a really yummy dinner tonight – a hint: it involves Bison meat!

Readers: Have you ever pushed yourself mentally and physically to accomplished your goals? Explain. How have you spent your weekend?

Friday Goals

Happy Friday! Woo! The weekend is finally here. Is it just me, or was this the longest short-week ever?!

Goals – we all have them. Sometimes we accomplish these goals, and sometimes we don’t. I struggle myself with beating myself up over goals that I don’t meet. I always have to remind myself that just because you didn’t meet a goal, doesn’t mean you failed. I like to be perfect, definitely a fatal flaw of mine, and I have to remind myself to chill out sometimes – it’s okay if you’re not perfect. So as this week ends, I thought I’d share some of my goals that I’ve set for myself recently.

  1. Spring-clean my closet, HARD. I’m one of those people who seem to just hoard clothes. While my closet definitely does not resemble anything that you see on TLC’s hoarders (have you seen that show lately??! It’s getting a little out of hand…) but I definitely hold onto things sometimes a little too long. Those jeans I wore in high school that still fit? Sure, I got ’em. They may not be cute, but they’re comfy! I have to stop this. I’m moving in with the boy in August, and we’ve already had the discussion about closet space. It’s time to consolidate!
  2. SLOW down on long runs. Again, the whole “must be perfect” thing kicks in every single time I run. I must go fast. I must maintain that speed. I must be strong. I must run far. I can’t do all these things at once, and I need to remind myself that. It’s okay if my run longs are not at marathon race pace – that’s the friggin’ point of a long run. SLOW!!!! I did a run on Wednesday night that was perfect. I started out 45 seconds slower than race pace for 2 miles, and then ran at race pace for 4. I ended up doing 6 miles instead of 5 like I planned, and felt great after. I know that a lot of my hip tightness is due to the fact that I am overdoing it on long runs. I did NOT recover well after my run on Monday, and I think that was because I ran too fast.
  3. Make more time for fun. As a young, fun, 24 year-old living in a big city – I don’t do many fun or exciting things. Chalk it up to a limited budget, a marathon training schedule that dominates my weekends, and a regular gym routine – I’ve turned into a boring person. Once the marathon is over, I definitely plan on taking a little time off from running. My next “big” race isn’t until my 10k in June, so I can deal with no formal training until then. I plan on getting the fun Sarah back by:
  • Exploring my city more. Boston in the winter is tough. It’s much more fun to walk around in the spring or summer months. Once the weather gets nicer, I need to make a point of taking a Saturday or Sunday every now and then and just go downtown and hang out. I used to do a lot more of that when I was in college and lived closer to downtown. I need to bring that back. It was fun.

  • Stop saying “no” to plans. I know that this running thing has put a damper on my social life on the weekends, and I really can’t wait to change that. I just need to push myself and say “yes” more often when someone asks if I want to go somewhere or do something.
  • More nights with my girlfriends. My friend Lauren and I had a mini girls’ night last Sunday and it was delightful. We made dinner at my apartment and drank beer and chatted about life. It was fun – and cheap. I need to do that more.

 

Have you set any recent goals for yourself? Share!

A Tale of Too Many Injuries

Running seems to be an exercise in trial and error. This is usually a good way to figure things out we are often told “if first you don’t succeed, try again.” Well, that’s all fine and dandy if this trial and error doesn’t produce bodily harm. I’ve always been somewhat incident and accident prone — my father calls me “Murphy’s Law Matthews” — whatever can go wrong, usually does. This is true of many things: stolen credit card numbers, ATM’s eating debit cards to never have them return, breaking my college laptop within 2 months of buying it, losing more cell phones than I can count on one hand, having my apartment broken into but getting all the stolen goods back within a 4-hour window, etc. My life seems to be a running Seinfeld episode. This is also true of my physical clumsiness. I drop everything. My butter fingers has ruined Blackberries, cameras, iPods, glasses, mugs, plates, etc. I remember the time when I was really young and almost knocked myself out by climbing on the kitchen counter to reach the porcelain sugar bowl on the top shelf and dropping it. My mom wasn’t happy. So it began.

When I started running seriously, this whole “Murphy’s Law Matthews” thing kicked in. I lasted about 6 months of running on really old sneakers before I acquired an inch long stress fracture in my left tibia. My mom thought I was crazy when I told her that I thought the pounding pain in my leg was a little more serious than a pulled muscle. When the MRI results came in and the doctor looked at me and said, “see that, that’s not normal. Stop running, NOW!” my mom finally believed me. 6 run-less months and countless hours of boring cross training later, I finally got myself some good shoes and hit the pavement again.

I lasted probably a whole year without any issues. As I ran more, I read up more about how to avoid injury and started to get a handle on this whole running thing. I got a subscription to Runner’s World Magazine and it changed my outlook forever. “What do you mean I should get new running shoes once every 300-500 miles?!” I started getting better about new shoes, I researched training plans and techniques, and I made the leap from treadmill running to outdoor running.

I LOVED it! I did my first 5k and finished in 31 minutes. Soon I was a sub-30 minute 5k runner. Then sub 29, sub 28, sub 27. I was finally a knowledgeable runner, and I was getting faster too. Then the next injury hit — my dreaded right calf.

For years, I had a weird pain in my right ankle. I think I can trace it to a time when I was riding. I was about 14 or 15 and I was doing what’s called a “line stop”, which is when after you jump a line of jumps, you don’t allow your horse to continue around the corner of the arena, but you stop at the end and make your horse go from a canter to a complete halt. In order to do this correctly, you have to lean your body back, sit in the seat, and jam your heels down in the stirrups in order to balance your leg and body. I did the line stop, and I felt a slight pop in my right ankle. I immediately knew I screwed something up. I had trouble getting off and putting weight on it as I walked around. Of course, as a tough equestrian, I let it go. I think I might have iced it for a day or two but nothing more. From that moment on, I always seemed to have some issue with that ankle. It would jam on me, and often completely lock – not allowing me to flex it at all. The winter time made it worse, but once the summer rolled around, it would loosen up and be fine. For the last couple years that I rode, I wore a neoprene sleeve which seemed to give it some relief.

After a year or so of running under my belt and a stress fracture injury heeled, I noticed that my right ankle started acting up when I ran. This had never happened before so I was a little worried that my riding injury was starting to affect my running. Again, I slipped on the stupid neoprene sleeve and ran through it. Soon the pain started radiating from my ankle all the way up the outside of my calf — the same feeling I had when riding. After months of painful running, I finally paid a visit to my orthopedist at home in NY. He was an Ironman triathlete so I knew he could help me. After some xrays that proved inconclusive and looking at me stand, hop on one foot, and walk, he said that I looked fine and that it could be mild compartment syndrome, but he wasn’t sure. The test for it was pretty barbaric (it included cutting my leg open basically to test the pressure and then making me run on a treadmill). He said he’d rather not do it because the only way to deal with compartment syndrome is surgery (warning: the wikipedia page pic for it is kinda gross). He suggested I go get fitted for running shoes and start foam rolling my calves which would help with any muscle imbalances. I immediately went and got fitted for shoes. I found out that I was wearing the right type for me, but in a size smaller than was correct. oops. $100 later, I was introduced to my new love, Brooks Ghost series. I’ve gone from the Ghost 2’s to the 3’s and now to the 4’s. Love them.

I also bought a foam roller once I got back to Boston and I got to work. The first time I used a foam roller, I cried – literally cried on my living room floor. I thought if this isn’t torture, I don’t know what is. With my new shoes and foam rolling exercises in hand, I ran. Each run felt better and better. Foam rolling became less painful and eventually necessary to a good run. Within 2 months, my ankle pain went away forever. It’s been 3 years and I haven’t had it since. All my ankle needed was a balanced calf.

Then the summer of 2009 came. We were in the process of trying to sell Ace and I was home for the summer working a really unpleasant job. One day, as Ace was standing on the crossties in the barn, he was spooked by another pony in the barn. Suddenly, he reared up on the crossties and being the panicked (and somewhat crazy) horse mom, I ran to him to release the bull snaps on his halter to free him from the crossties. Then, the inevitable happened, I got hurt. He landed directly on top of my left foot, crushing it with his shod hoof. He ran out of the barn and I chased after him, not noticing at all. Once I finally caught him and walked him back to the barn, the adrenaline stopped and my foot hurt. I got back to the barn and realized that this wasn’t good. I took off my boot (bad choice) and saw that my foot was swelling up. A couple hours and a hospital visit later, I left with the verdict — a crush injury! yay! Broken feet are awesome! I was outfitted with some crutches and a boot. No cast for me. Because it was a crush injury, the doctor was worries about crushed blood vessels, and because the bones in my feet were so tiny, and the soft tissue injury was so bad, it needed all the air and blood flow possible to heal. So that meant no constricting cast.

My foot is still bruised...over 2 years later

This also meant no running for 8 weeks. That was one of the worst two months of my life. I couldn’t run or ride for 8 weeks, I only had 4 months left with Ace forever, and I literally couldn’t do anything for a good 2 weeks except lay on the couch. I couldn’t wait until the 8 weeks were up. Finally, after 2 months I rode. I wasn’t supposed to, but I did. My horse show season was ruined, but I didn’t care. I got to ride Ace and enjoy doing what I loved more than anything for another month before we sold him.

It took a good month after my foot was healed to get my running legs back. It took time, but I ended up having an injury-free year. After the stress fracture, wonky ankle, and crushed foot, I was ready to have an easy go at it. There were some occasional pains that went away with some rest days and ice, but nothing bad for over 2 years. Until recently.

My latest: tight hips! This seems to be an injury that affects many female runners that I know. My latest is a mixture of the half-marathon training, winter running (my muscles always hate me), old shoes (ordered new ones 2 days ago), and not stretching correctly for me. I visited a chiropractor for the first time the other day and I’m officially a convert. It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. He told me that my hip flexors and piriformis were hard as rocks, which is why my hips and lower back have been in so much pain after a run. I go back on Friday to get readjusted again and I cannot wait. My run Tuesday night was so fluid and easy. It hasn’t felt that easy in a long time.

So those are the injuries so far. My body has been through a beating, but exercise and running is a learning process. Things will go wrong, but it’s important to be aware of your body so that you know when something is not right. And nothing can replace a good doctor.