Hips Don’t Lie

Today is day 9 of not running.

Actually, it’s been 7 days since I’ve figured out how to do any cardio pain free…so stretching, rolling, and PT exercises are about all I can do.

Despite getting my endorphins on being a huge stress release and being completely devoid of it lately…I’d say I am handling everything really well.

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 3.47.06 PM.png

So what’s the scoop on the hiatus from running?   My knee was kind of poppy a few weeks back and I kept running on it because it felt fine running.  But eventually it didn’t feel fine running.  In fact, it eventually didn’t feel fine any time.

To be completely honest everything has been OFF the last year since April 2012’s marathon training cycle.  I haven’t been able to put my finger on it all, but things just don’t feel right.  I’ve tried to be cautious and not really push it, but it just feels like one little thing after another.  I went to the doc who sent me to my fave Physical Therapy group and I’m finally, FINALLY, FINALLY working on the root cause of all of this.

My hips.

originalOver the last year there’s been a lot of wiggles and niggles and I’ve always “spot treated” each one but never taking the time to really correct the root of it all – my crooked hips.

Why?  Because it takes a lot of time and effort and requires some time off running which I really didn’t want to do.  But it’s time.

I’m trying to have a positive attitude about it and realize that by taking the time to get this right will be good for the future.  I mean really good.  Like, really start taking the time to train.  Like really start putting together a real training plan.  Like really start doing speed work instead of fearing it.  Like you know, set an actual goal and achieve it, which honestly I have not really done since like….errr…uhhh….umm….18 months ago with my BQ.  I’ve hit some smaller goals (like PR’ing) but not setting a really stretch-worthy goal and shooting for it.

And while this is very exciting and inspiring, the truth is, on a lot of days I mostly feel like this.

A lot of rhythmic rage here...

A lot of rhythmic rage here…

So I’m doing my best to put on my happy face and enjoy this for what it is – time to heal.  I find myself grateful I wasn’t in any crazy good shape or anything so it’s not like I’m losing spectacular fitness, just some mediocre, fear-laiden efforts.


The I Word & Being a Head Case

Ironically I started this post a few weeks ago and it’s been sitting in Half-Written Wasteland since then because, let’s face it, no one wants to publicly admit that you might be a head case.  But this week’s events have spawned me to actually finish this bad boy and come to terms with how I can often be my own worst enemy.

Being a head case in running takes place in a variety of ways.  Some of the manifestations:

psych_radical_90s_button-r9d2782b8c04746b79d8b9b3c5903898d_x7j12_8byvr_512-Psych!  More than just one of the best things to come out of the 90’s (other than neon spandex), the Psych runner is his or her own worst enemy.  When your best just isn’t good enough.  We’ve all seen the type (heck most of us have lived this one), and it’s one of the most brutal to watch, and a freaking disaster to be a part of.  The “Psych!” head case is one that is physically capable, trained and ready and just can’t get past the mental barrier of pushing his or herself to their fullest ability.

3796039230_098c68d1d9-Injurychondriac.  This is the person who freaks out with wiggles, niggles and pulls.  And this is the one I’ve fallen prey too.  As a recovering “pain means gain let’s sideline ourself for 3 months with a major injury” I get overly cautious with things.  Yes I’ve had some unfortunate situations in the last year (umm…spraining your ankle on kids toys does not heal quickly nor well…sprains are ugly, mugly, fugly).  But beyond that, I’ve been uber cautious and pulled back when things have gotten tight, twisty or even the slightest bit painful.

This is so counter to my push through it and ice & ibuprofen later approach from the years before – and quite frankly it was starting to annoy me.  “Ehhh….you’re such a whiny twit,” I have been telling myself.  “Get over it Whine-O the Clown!” I’ve chided to myself.  And ironically when I finally took my own advice to let go and just get GOING, I started getting knee pain – not when running, but sitting.

F….and I don’t mean for fabulous.

Dear Knee, You're stupid.  Signed, Sheila's Brain

Dear Knee, You’re stupid. Signed, Sheila’s Brain

Sitting in a chair hurts.  Running – notsomuch.  So I kept running, but I didn’t get that stupid.  Long story short…I did do an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” approach and saw the doc and found out something in my patellofemoral pain or something like, ‘something we diagnose at sports med facilities every 15 minutes”.  It’s not a major deal apparently and requires a few trips to the PT and being much more diligent about weight lifting (which ironically is what got me into this whole mess but whatever I digress).

Honestly it’s a mixed message lesson for me – Do I listen to the wiggles and niggles or do I push through?  I don’t know.  It’s a tough balance.  I have been babying my little tight hammy through the summer due to visions of it snapping on a run for most of the summer – but was it necessary?  I have no idea.

With some anti-inflammatories, ice, a little PT…probably take a week off and then slowly build back in.  Something like that.  We will see what the PT says.

Do you fall into either head case category?

How do you handle wiggles, niggles and pain?

Monday Musings

I don’t know how your weekend was, but here we finally saw 60 degrees.  It was amazing.

Running in sub-85 degree temps has been astounding and watching the kids play soccer in sub-90 degree temps makes me sleep better at night (there’s not enough Nuun in the world to keep me sleeping soundly at night worrying about the kids playing sports in super hot weather).

Speaking of trends….training, running, etc.  How’s it going?  How do I feel about it?

IMG_2830Actually that’s a picture of me getting my nails done (not kidding), but I have the same feeling about my running lately.  If I go fast, I seem to get hurt so I’m just hanging out in the “slower for me” speeds and it’s frustrating.  If my mileage hits above 25 miles a week I feel like I’m flirting with an injury, so I’m sticking to that base mileage.

On Saturday morning I went out for a 10-miler and was supposed to finish at the boys’ soccer game, turns out I only had time for 7 and the route to the game was mostly uphill.  I was running “naked” as in no watch and nothing barking splits at me. In fact, a few of the bigger hills (that lasted over half a mile) left me feeling like I was going to dry heave so I was a little concerned.

I was quietly recording it on my iPhone so when I finished I was surprised to find that I had run that fast on a hilly course (7:49 overall splits).  The difficulty was probably because I’ve been doing a lot of this:

Sneaky, sneaky....

Sneaky, sneaky….

No I haven’t been hitting the Skittles, but I have been hitting the pizza, ice cream, and just snacking all day long (not always healthy ones) instead of really thinking about meals, healthy, balanced snacks, etc.  Not too mention I haven’t been doing near enough of this….

Yes that's me fake sleeping in my wedding dress and Converse sneakers

Yes that’s me fake sleeping in my wedding dress and Converse sneakers

I am trying to remember the ol’ GIGO:  Garbage In, Garbage Out.  You can only get out of performance what you put in.

What’s up next?  Long Beach Half Marathon in 3 weeks.  I’m using this as a litmus test to see how things are going, see where my running fitness really is at the moment.  Truth be told I haven’t run anything longer than 12 miles since…errr…uh…Boston in April.  So there’s that.

That followed by a few months of mid-length fast runs, followed by slower, lesser miles because I was starting to feel an injury coming on, followed by moderate paced, moderate length runs.  What’s going to happen?  I have no idea.

From there, I’ll make some decisions on what things are going to look like moving forward.

What’s your biggest challenge about “input” on your training?
 Sleep, food, miles, speed work?

True Confession Thursday: Can You Find the Runner?

Tuesday: 5 Miles
Wednesday: Flag Football w/ Boys & Tweaky Knee
Thursday:  6 Miles

One of my fave things to read on other people’s blogs are things they are digging, so then I can decide if I want to dig them too.  So for today’s True Confession, I’m going to share a few faves and then play a game of “Can you find  the runner?”

Food:  A few months ago, I saw an Instagram from Katie at Ms. Fit Runner about the Vega Recovery Accelerator and decided that it might make me super fast like her it sounded good so I would give it a go.  I’ve created my own little recovery shake with it and am totally digging it lately.   (What I’m not digging is the price…but good protein powders come with a cost so I’ll forgive that).

It might not be a  30 minute meal, but it's Yum-O.

It might not be a 30 minute meal, but it’s Yum-O.

The Deets:
-1 Cup Ice
-1 Scoop of Recovery Accelerator
-1 banana
-1/2 to 1 cup almond milk

Blend and savor the flavor of recovery goodness, protein and carbs.  I have spent many miles just thinking about finding it waiting for me making it when I get home.  I used to dream of sesame bagels while I ran, but this has quickly taken their place.

The Outfit:
So you know I have a thing with drivers…mostly when they almost hit me and stuff.  With the morning fog coming back to SoCal and the sun hitting the snooze alarm making for some dreary mornings (that’s how we know it’s fall in SoCal), I’ve been sporting the same outfit fairly often to keep the cars away.  My fave neon running shirt with my neon ProCompression socks.


Can you find the runner?  From Sunday’s long(er) run

Favorite Guilty Pleasure:
So it’s about time I just come out and say it, but when I’m icing and foam rolling, I do have a favorite guilty pleasure to watch.  No it’s not the RHWOC – I just go to Target to see that.  So hello, Awkward.  You’re so bad, you’re good.

r-AWKWARD-SEASON-3-PREMIERE-DATE-large570What are your faves lately?  
Tell me something I 100% need to know about!

September Slump

11 Miles Running
3 Miles Walking
Smazy Sunday Strides

Ahhh September…for many in the country it’s when things get back into “normal” – weather takes a turn for the better, the kids are settled back into the school routine and most of the country waits with baited breath for the first leaves of fall to start turning.

As Tom Hanks (Joe Fox) once said in “You’ve Got Mail


Freshly sharpened pencils my arse…in SoCal, September is when the sun decides to kick it up and 70 degrees is only something you see between 2-4am (if you’re lucky).   In fact, at my sister’s wedding a few weeks ago, one of her best friends walked up to us in all of the humid glory and announced, “My business is hot”(my new favorite line).  So thanks to September in SoCal – everyone’s business is hot and it can make people a wee bit crabby.

As September begins, the kids are in the last two weeks of summer vacation (you know the ones where they are practically begging for structure and you wonder how much duct tape it would take to stick them to the walls in their bedrooms for a few hours) and then beginning the agonizing 2 week adjustment to actually being back in school.

No, we're totally normal here.  When I say take a picture I get this.  Two words to their teachers - good luck.

No, we’re totally normal here. When I say take a picture I get this. Two words to their teachers – good luck.

All of those crazy kids and the hot business sure do make it easy to lose perspective.  So I know that I was grateful for a message on Saturday night at church about purpose vs. perfection.  It got me thinking – where’s my focus?  Striving for perfection and wallowing when I fail (news flash: this is very often) or focusing on making intentional choices to make my life purposeful?

What?! This is a running blog?!?  Fear not….there’s a point here….

Since my ideal “running” has been derailed by my intense hatred and continued no-treadmill streak matched with 80-95 degree temps, I’m having to remember why the heck I’m doing it.  For the last year the script in my mind giving me purpose was, “Boston..Boston…Boston“.  It kept me motivated and my passion, purpose and drive tractor beam focused.  I can’t tell you how many times I chanted this through my mind or imagined running through the finish line to get myself motivated before and/or during a run.workout.


How many months, moments, and minutes did I dream about crossing that very line and thought of that moment to get through step after step? I didn’t plan on the huge popsicle stain, ehhh you win some, you lose some…

But these days – it’s a lot more of, “Uh it’s 97.3 degrees outside and I’m running 5 miles because I used to like this?”

Do I love running any less?  Nope.

Is it really hard to have an AMAZING run when it’s a bazillion degrees outside?  Yeppers.

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte, sitting on ice, you make September better in so many ways.

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte, sitting on ice, you make September better in oh so many ways.

So what have I been using running for lately?  Smaller, shorter distanced quasi-goals (i.e. don’t hit your next race more than 5 minutes longer than your PR type stuff), thinking, praying, relaxing (okay as much as you can relax during a cardio workout).

Thinking…yes this is probably the scariest of them all.  This morning I spent a lot of time thinking about my parenting and the whole perfection vs. purpose thing.  I’ve made a lot of intentional efforts to get the boys’ school year off on the right foot – homework routines, incentives, schedules, pretty little signs and checklists around the house I’m practically living in an elementary school….and the response – whines, cries, tears, fits, tantrums, and general crabbiness…and that’s not to even speak of the kid’s behavior.

Yes there’s definitely benefit to the things I’ve been doing, but I’ve been so focused on just getting the “right things” done to get ready that I feel like I might have momentarily lost sight of the purpose – getting everyone off on the right foot this year.

So my challenge this sweltering September – spend more time dwelling on my purpose instead of the actions or reactions that mark the [lack of] perfection….ensure that I spend the time thinking about what and why I am doing the things I’m doing (running, working, mom-ing, wife-ing and the like) instead of how I did or didn’t do them.

What’s your fall like?

Are you a purpose or perfection person?

The Impromptu 5k

Since one wedding isn’t nearly enough fun, my sweet li’l sissy decided to get married 5 days after me, meaning I got to high tail it on a red eye from LA to Chicago on Thursday night.

Isn't she the cutest?  And her hubz isn't too shabby either!

Isn’t she the cutest? And her hubz isn’t too shabby either!

Since I was in town, I decided to see if there were any local races.  My goal was to do a 10 miler on Sunday and found a local 5k which seemed to fit into the family schedule.  It was raising money for the local youth football league by my old high school, so why not?

Actually there were a lot of reasons why not.  Mainly that this is how I prepared for the race:

  • Extreme sleep deprivation
  • Bourbon laced sweet tea
  • Wedding cake
  • An overflowing candy bar (gummy bears are like crack)
  • More caffeine than should be consumed in 2 days…ever
  • Alfredo Lasagna rollups (yep, you read that right)
  • Poisonous purple peas (why garden snacking can be dangerous)
  • Leftover wedding cake
  • Leftover candy bar
  • Crap ton of allergy pills (we’re talking taking Claritin like breath mints)
  • More sleep deprivation

Oh yeah, and there was also some questionable dancing in cowboy boots for an extended period of time.  Let me give you a little spoiler alert:  This is not the post where I say, OMG I got a HUGE PR despite not trying and abhorrent race conditions.  This is the post where I say, “I learned a LOT of lessons in 3 short little miles.”

This was my getup for the "I'm Too Sexy" song.  I think my father told me I looked homeless by this point in the evening...

This was my getup for the “I’m Too Sexy” song. I think my father told me I looked homeless by this point in the evening…

When race morning rolled around I had no idea what to expect.  I showed up, ran the course once (3.1) as a warmup, raced 3.1, ran another 2 miles catching up with others, and then wrapped up with another 3 to cool down on the way home. Daily Total:  11ish miles

Cloudy & cool start

Cloudy & cool start

Race Logistics:  With about 100 people racing and cruising around my ol’ hood, the small race was comfortable to say the least.  I especially dug the running of the course one time to know what to expect and when to expect it (there was a gnarly wind that morning).  The race was chip timed (I was surprised) and really well organized.  To be honest I felt “wearing a prom dress to McDonalds” overdressed with my neon green ProCompression socks and little Lulu race shorts on (boy I was glad for the socks for the other 8 miles).  #howarunneroverdresses

Race Deets:  From the get go two men bolted out ahead of everyone and I hung with a pack of eager teeny boppin’ boys and a bunch of men.  By half a mile in I wanted to know if I was holding the pace or if they were holding me, so I did a few accelerations and learned that I was, in fact, the pace holder and these dudes would eventually fade away which is exactly what happened.

To be honest I was on pace to PR…and it was not easy.  I was struggling to keep pace- out of control breathing, fatigued legs, and a general hatred for life during those 20 minutes about sum it up.  I wouldn’t look behind me because I didn’t want to know how close any women were/weren’t.  What kept me motivated to not just totally tank were the little cheerleading girls on the sidelines of the race who kept getting so excited that a woman was doing well.  By mile 2.5 I wanted to die, realized I had a very healthy lead and just cruised the rest of the way in happily kissing any hopes of a PR goodbye, but grateful to be catching my breath.

Finish:  20:43, 3rd overall, 1st place woman

To the victor goes the spoils

To the victor goes the spoils

The Loot:  For a small race I was surprised by the loot for the overall winner – a really nice medal, a gift card to a local running store (you’re welcome Mom!) and an entry to win the Jeep pictured above or cash from a 50/50 (yes that means it could be a  pretty profitable win if the “odds may be ever in my favor”).  Scary bright orange Jeep?  Notsomuch – that’s my alma mater and when I laid my eyes on it I believe my exact words were, “I want”.

What I Learned:

-I still hate the 5k and despite it only being 3.1 miles.  I will always and forever respect that race like no other – 26.2 takes a certain mental and physical toughness, 3.1 requires mental toughness and lungs of steel.

-Like I said, no story of crappy preparation and then the bashful, “Oh wow, I almost PRed”.  Nope, the entire race I was watching my paces and realizing that if I can do this in spite of doing every single thing craptastically awful, then perhaps I need to re-evaluate my actual abilities.

-I need to figure out WHAT I want to do.  Sure, I can probably go faster, blah, blah, blah…but do I really want to? After coming off an insanely busy few months, honestly all I want to do is sleep for about 30 days, run when I want to run, and not worry about some crazy goal ahead of me.  While my Type A all the way personality tends to dominate my goals and plans, right now Type ZZzzzzz is taking over in a fast and furious way.

-Insanity is contagious.  Despite weddings, travel, and general craziness, apparently my crazy family members have caught onto last minute race scheduling.

IMG_4685Anyone else race over the weekend?

What was your favorite prize you’ve ever won (racing or not)?


Big Things, Little Rings

Pardon the running interruption, but life has been a little crazy the last week.  California turned into a sauna (yes I am talking straight up humidity and 90-100) just in time for the ol’ outdoor wedding.

Don’t worry I figured out a way to keep myself cool.

Always the classy lady I am.

Always the classy lady I am.  BTW are the women in my family not the cutest things ever?

We had a house full of guests and I actually got dressed up and wore high heels which happens oh so very rarely.

Shiny Shoes

Shiny Shoes

But fear not…I kept running.


With temps like this 9 minute miles are considered speed work.

I took advantage of the extra hands around the house to sneak in a few miles over the longish weekend and was able to get close to 20 in over 5 days .  Turns out my hammy is lovin’ this Miami-like weather because even the greatest level of effort is yielding sloth-speed miles.  

The truth is, the heat is giving me a chance to do some seriously proper recovery from an almost injury – you know when you are flirting with something serious and have the option to push it over the edge into sidelined for months or actually, you know, BE SMART.

So how do you handle the wiggles/niggles that could turn into something worse before they do?

Go See Someone.  Yes, schedule a hot date with your doc/PT/whomever.  Having someone watch your mechanics and give you an actual indication of what is going is probably perhaps maybe most definitely better than a google search.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to let the internet diagnose me, but I usually get this confirmed just annoy my sports med doc when I go in to find out what is really happening.  

-Stretch, Stretch, Stretch.  Spend some serious time with the foam roller and lacrosse ball. I have always been a big foam rolling fan, but honestly, one of the BEST gifts ever was

Hello beautiful, you so changed my life....

Hello beautiful, you so changed my life….

the gift of my Trigger Point Therapy Foam Roller from kids.  The moments of pain we have go to 50 Shades of Red, but it’s worth it to help keep everything loose and limber.

I also try to remember how lonely my life was without my lacrosse ball.  I’ve probably googled every pressure point on the leg and use the lacrosse ball on it regularly.  Some people can be intimidated, but it’s really super easy.  I plan on posting a “how to” on this in the near future.

-Keep it Chill.  Ice away.  Don’t be afraid to use every bag o’ veggies or your kids lunch ice packs on every part of your legs.  I’ve been known to walk around with them stuck in my compression shorts throughout the day (and perhaps to the neighbor kids’ giggling even walking around the neighborhood with a bag o’ peas stuck in my pants).  20 minutes on, 20 minutes off on the niggly area a few times a day.

-Slow It Down.  It’s every runner’s (okay not really, just the Type A ones) nightmare when you’re told not to push it, but it’s critical to slow down.  I have really slowed my pace down by 30-90 seconds a mile.  Some days it kills me.  No, I probably won’t be pulling any PR’s out of my butt for a while, but um hello…I’m running….it could be so much worse, like, I could be…errr…..NOT RUNNING. 

Sometimes a little niggle means lower mileage as well.   I read somewhere (sorry internets, you’re so big I can’t remember where), that your fitness doesn’t usually deteriorate until 2 weeks of inactivity, so even shorter, slower, smaller workouts are better than nothing and the impact not near as great as it seems.  Jillian-Michaels-30-Day-Shred-DVD-Review

-Switch it Up.  As much as running is my life therapy, I find the niggles disappear faster when I keep it mixed up – hit the bike, swim (ugh, I love to hate you and hate to love you but it’s happening…,) take a HIIT class, whatever it takes.  Heck, schedule a hot date with your DVD player and your favorite workout video (I love me some Jillian Michaels).

And if you’re questioning whether or not you should be running, for the love of the land, please just go watch some really awful reality TV and suck on a GU pack if you’re feeling really guilty….your body will thank you when you’re running in 3 days instead of 3 months later.

Do you have other tips to cure the niggles?