preventing injuries & drinking wine

Monday’s workout: Hip hop boot camp class at the gym … which basically involves looking moronic while feeling like a Fly Girl:

Tuesday’s workout: stretching and drinking wine (yep, it’s a workout)

I really, really want to run today. I’m running in a 10K on Saturday, and I planned to do a six-mile tempo run today. But Sunday’s track workout did weird things to my leg muscles. Namely, I feel pain in these spots:

leg

Okay, just kidding. I don’t feel pain in all those spots. But I do have a lot of soreness on the anterior parts of my shins and the front of my ankles. (Guess what?! I must’ve actually been successfully toe striking on Sunday!)

And while I know I could probably run today without aggravating them much, I’d really rather not get shin splits this early on in my “serious” running training.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gone from working out 3-4 times per week (more like 3) and only one of those days being a run to working out 5-6 times per week with 3 (or more) runs. I’m not pounding out high mileages, but it is a considerable upgrade from before. So I’m going to be smart and take it slow.

There’s a lot of this going on around here:

icing

Ahhh, that's better.

And this is happening while I’m sitting at my desk at work:

icing

Sweet, sweet relief

Why am I so paranoid about getting injured? Well, I have a History (with a capital H, naturally) with knee, hip and IT band pain.

(Please stop reading here unless you’re interested in an overwrought, dramatic account of my running-related pain. You’ve been warned.)

Back in 2007, when I was young and dumb (har har), my friend Amy suggested that we run a half-marathon in San Francisco. (I honestly can’t remember which one we did, but if you’re looking for one in SF, this looks cool.)

Amy and I ran cross country together in high school. But, let me clarify: Amy ran cross country (#2 girl on Varsity, I think). And I jogged cross country. By my senior year, I’d edged my way to #7 (the last spot) on Varsity. Even then, I think it was more of a consolation type of thing that coach gave to me because I was a good sport. I did cross country because I liked to stay fit and hang out with my friends — and I wasn’t good enough for any other Varsity sports.

Throughout college and afterward, I kept jogging, but I mixed it with a lot of other things: dance, kickboxing, the elliptical, keg stands. (Actually I’m sort of lying about the keg stands. I like to conflate the one keg stand I’ve ever done and pretend I’ve had a raucous, storied past.)

Also, when I say that I kept jogging, what I really mean is that I ran once every couple weeks for no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Fast forward to the half marathon. I said I’d do it, and then I promptly forgot to train for it. I think I upped my runs to twice per week or something, but I don’t know if I ever ran any long runs, definitely not anything over 7-8 miles. But, I figured, I’m in good shape. I’ll be fine.

And I was fine, mostly, except for that nagging knee pain that started to plague me around mile 9 or 10. (That’s also, I believe, the mile Amy decided she’d had enough of my slowness and left me to finish her last 3 miles strong.)

Here we are in happier times (around the first mile):

half marathon

Happy. Slow. Before my knees crapped out.

I mean, how badly can you injure yourself if you’re only running 13 miles? Apparently, quite a bit. By the time I finished, I was doing the runner’s hobble, and the following week was, well, stupid. I stretched, iced, OD’d on Advil and couldn’t shake the knee pain.

So there began a solid two years of knee pain, hip pain and IT band uber-tightness. During that time, I didn’t actually make the connection to my IT band — I thought it was all in my knee — and so I didn’t really know how to properly treat it.

I’d try to go out jogging, and I’d feel the pain around 2-3 miles and call it a day. I did lot of other activities in the meantime and sort of gave up on running.

Eventually, I really missed running. And I got a bit smarter. And figured out I was dealing with bursitis and IT band syndrome, which are awfully common among runners, and also really treatable.

Since I caught the running bug again — it was only in January that I started getting excited about running again, and only in the last month that I’ve really cared about pushing myself — I’ve been doing things correctly.

And, now, apparently, I take rest days even when I don’t want to.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Well, yes, my wine glass looks roughly the same size as my head.

an update

Guess what?! I don’t think I pulled a muscle. Freakin’ hooray.

I’m sore today, but sore like I made my legs do something unfamiliar yesterday, not sore like I did something really bad and injured myself big time.

I guess two hours of on-and-off stretching and icing worked or something. ;)

I’m taking a rest day today, nonetheless, just to make sure I’m not serving up more than I can handle. (Which, currently, isn’t much.)

In the spirit of recuperation, I pulled on my new compression socks when I got home from work:

compression socks

Sorry I keep taking photos of myself in my kitchen. Making a mental note to try for other locales.

Have you tried compression socks? They feel sooo good. It took me a minute to like them. At first, it’s like wearing hosiery and jumping five decades in age. But pretty soon you’ll be oohing and aahing and doing an extra load of laundry just to get these puppies clean and back on your legs. They hold everything in place and ease tight calves in a way that stretching alone can’t.

But, man, they’re pricey. I got mine from Pro Compression and thankfully used a discount code from SkinnyRunner. (Talk about someone who can pile on the miles — in the last 9 days, she ran 161 miles. ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-ONE MILES in NINE DAYS. Using her legs, people, not a bicycle. She’s basically my new running idol.)

In other news, remember when I lost my ID while running? Some kind soul found it while she was running, and it arrived in my mailbox today. So, thank you, Rachel in Portland, whoever you are! You’ve saved me a trip to the DMV, and that deserves more than a little applause.

What sorts of unexpected things came your way today?