It’s Official, My Legs Hate Me

Sometimes, as much as the outcome sucks, it is good to know a decision was made based on correct intuition.  When I pulled out of Rutgers, it was not a difficult decision.  I just knew something wasn’t right.  Remember when I said a gut feeling is not just a euphemism?  This is a perfect example.  I knew what I was feeling wasn’t in my head.  Although, I wish it had been.

Turns out, what I was feeling at Rutgers, was not in my head.  I saw the doctor on Thursday when the pain was only getting worse in my foot/ankle.  I was terrified of a stress fracture. 

The goods news is, nothing is broken in my foot!  And seriously, that is some great news!

The bad news is I have a pretty significant case of Peroneal Tendonitis. 

Peroneal Tendonitis refers to painful inflammation of the peroneal tendons located on the outer side of the foot, a little behind the ankle bump. 

There are two peroneal muscles on the outer side of the lower leg. One long one, called the peroneal longus runs from the knee to the ankle, and one short one, called the peroneal brevis muscle runs from below the knee to the ankle. Both these muscles when they approach the ankle, convert into tendons, which are thick bands of fibers that connect muscle to bone. Both these tendons run side-by-side and curve behind the outer bump of the ankle, then run below the foot where they insert into the bones of the foot.

As the muscle contracts, these tendons pull the lower surfaces of these bones, pulling/bending the foot downward (plantarflexion) and outward (eversion).

Once we had a diagnosis, it was time to treat.  Out of waitressing for 10 days and lots of RICE method.  Additionally in an effort to keep my leg stabilized and because “I can’t be trusted to stay off my feet,” I was also put in the CAM walker for the weekend.  Thank God that was only for a few days.  If I never have to see that boot again, it will be too soon.

And I’ll be rocking this again for a weeks to keep my ankle stable:

2013-04-29_08-34-02_385I know, I know…desperate for a pedicure!

I was also supposed to do this weird thing…I think normal people call it relaxing?  Yeah, I am not so good at that but didn’t have a choice.  I spent Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday on my couch with my foot up and ice on and off.  Sunday, I mowed the lawn in my boot- that was a new experience…!   Other than a few errands, my friends housewarming Saturday night and mowing the lawn Sunday, my weekend mostly looked like this:

 wine2Relaxing is better with wine.

As much as relaxing isn’t my thing, I’ll admit it was a nice break.  I run on empty most of the time, so to be able to have a reason to do nothing was a good and much needed chance of pace.  It is hard to stay off my feet at my day job as well but I am trying.  And since I am not working  nights this week, and I cannot afford to do anything because I am not working night this week, the above is pretty much my game plan for the rest of the weekFor now, running is completely out of the question and I have to wait until I am pain free to get back to ballet/barre but I am hoping next weekend to get a work out in, even if it is just slow on the elliptical and some lifting.  I’ll take anything!

It may seem as though my spirits are up; that is mostly due to the fact that I am so happy I don’t have a fracture.  But the truth is, I am really bummed out.  I did everything right training for Rutgers.  I felt so ready.  And for things to just fall apart and me to be back off running is a huge blow.  I am frustrated.  Actually, I am beyond frustrated.  I feel like I am always injured.  While it seems everyone I know is getting better and faster, I am regressing.  My running has never been the same since I broke my foot and I am worried that it never will be.  The other day a friend of mine said she really felt like a runner now that she was fast.  I said she was always a runner because if you run you are a runner.  She replied that before she felt like an imposter.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  Is she saying that slow runners are imposters?  Am I one?  I mean, I don’t think so…but when I am struggling, this is the exact thing that gets in my head.  The exact thing that makes me just want to throw in the towel.  I don’t even know if that is what she meant or if I am just hyper sensitive because I am feeling so low.  I have been fighting injuries for so long…I am not getting any better.  How long do I keep doing this to myself?  I don’t know.  I have to see how this PT goes and in the meantime, I’ll be sticking with barre and ballet and lifting and trying to get strong.   Both physically and mentally.

In other news, to end on a good note…this came in the mail over the weekend:

bosontshirtBest mail I have gotten in a while!

500 posts!

This is my 500th post!

Before I started blogging again, I took a look back at my posts for motivation and to remember why I loved it so much in the first place.  Some made me smile and a few made me sad.  Some are much deeper than others.  A few were really hard to write.   Some just make me laugh.  My favorite ones are the ones that created a forum for conversation and opened others up to tell their own stories.  I also love re-reading my race reports!  While many of my posts are just about my day to day training or about what is going on in my life, I hope I have in some way inspired you as my reader.  I started this blog as a way to journal, but soon found such a great world out there full of amazing people.  Before I started my own blog, I read  A LOT of blogs.  I knew I wanted THIS blog to be honest, relevant, personal and helpful.  I think I have achieved that thus far.  This blog is exactly how it should be.

In honor of my 500th post, I completed ‘100 MORE things about Onelittletrigirl‘, finally added an ‘About Me‘ page.  I figured it was about time!

Whether you have been there from day 1, day 10, day 100 or only started reading this week- thank you!

Rutgers 7.8 Race Report

7.8 what huh?  I thought it was a 13.1?

Yeah…so about that…

My training leading up to the race went pretty well.  My 10 miler was a beast but I chalked it up to a bad day.  My taper runs went off without a hitch and I saw my sports PT three days before the race and everything checked out.  Then, Friday after work my ankle and shin were bothering me.  It was a long shift so I just iced and stayed off it most of Saturday.  Sunday, I could feel it but wasn’t too concerned.  My friend Lisa and I drove up to the race together and while I debated dropping to the 8K, I thought it was all in my head so I headed to the half-marathon start line.

Miles 1-4 were okay.  I really did not expect the hills.  The race is described as flat but it was entirely full of rolling hills.  My calf muscles weren’t happy- I mean, I train in SOUTH JERSEY!- but I was getting by.  It was at about mile 5 that my race started going downhill.  My pace was still fine but my calves were cramping and my shins were on fire.  There was a certain level of “push through it” and a certain level of “don’t hurt yourself” going through my head at the same time.  I was walking a whole lot more than I like and no amount of stretching was helping.  The last thing I wanted to do was give up but I was getting increasingly frustrated.  I would stop, stretch and then less than a quarter mile I would have to stop again.  By mile 7, I had pretty much had it with the race.  The cramps in my calves were getting worse and every time I saw a hill, I wanted to cry.  At this point, I wasn’t running at all and still had over six miles to go.  I really did not think it was wise for me, mentally or physically, to keep going.   So for the first time ever in a road race, I stopped.  At mile 7.8, I pulled myself from the race, walked over to an aid station and had them radio me a ride to the start where I was able to catch a shuttle to the finish line.

I kept waiting for the tears.  To feel the failure in the pit of my stomach.  It never came.  Because I didn’t fail.  I made a decision.  And truthfully, it wasn’t even a difficult one.  I have spent much of the last 3 years injured.  It isn’t worth it.  I have no idea why my legs failed me- obviously, I need more hill work, but it has to be more than that.  Today, I will meet with my sports chiropractor and see what he thinks.  We have already talked about the next marathon (another post for another time) and today we will talk about the path for this year.  I don’t have any more races planned until July, so for now, I am just going to work on getting these legs back in working order.

After the race, I met up with my friends and we had lunch at a local brewery.  The day went on as normal.

Here is a photo from the day-

Runner Survey

I wanted to write more about Boston.  To tell about my sadness.  But it is hard to write when you cannot process.  Right now, I am just not processing.  It’ll take time.  This is all very personal to me, as it is to many of you.  What I know is this…nothing can take away my love for running or for Boston.  Next weekend, when I hit the pavement for my first half-marathon of the year, I’ll definitely have the Boston runners in my heart.  For now though, I’ll share my favorite of the photos that have been popping up:

Also, yesterday I represented by wearing this to work:

As I said when I posted on my page- bad at selfies; sorry, not sorry!

So. Instead of a heart heavy post, you get this.  Stolen from Jamoosh.  Who stole is from someone who stole it from someone and it’s all linked here.  You want in?  Take it, but then link it 🙂

Best Run Ever-

All my best runs are the ones I have downtheshore.  Wildwood is my favorite place and running is my favorite thing.

beachrunDuring the WW Tri

Three Words That Describe My Running-

Slow.  Steady.  Spirited.

My Go-To Running Outfit

Running skirt by C9 with tank top or short sleeves.  I wear it a lot.  I just bought a new one because this one is so worn out.

skirt5skirt3skirt2skirt`skirtThere’s more, but I’ll spare you!

I Won’t Run Outside When It’s…

Dark.  I am a kidnapping waiting to happen.

Worst Injury – And How I Got Over It

Broken foot. Physically, I got over it just by letting it heal and working my way back a little at a time.  Mentally, still not sure if I am over it.  I have spent a lot of time injured.

footFrom a different injury but I lived in this thing for FAR too long.

I Felt Most Like a Badass Runner When…

I ran the last miles of the marathon on a broken foot.  With a smile.

15Yup- running and smiling despite the broken foot!  Adrenaline can do anything!

Potential Running Goal for 2013

Stay uninjured.  If I get a PR, that is just the cherry on top.

My Next Race Is…

Sunday.  Rutgers 13.1

rutgers

Happy Boston Marathon Day!

boston-finish

When I was 17, my family took a trip to Boston.  It was one of the best trips.  My parents were awesome enough to let me bring a friend which made everything that much better.  We did the touristy stuff like Ride the Ducks and visiting the Cheers bar but we also saw the Titanic expo while we were there and best of all…we went to Fenway.  My Mom, Dad and I are all HUGE baseball fans.  Of course the Phillies come first in our heart but a close second would be the Red Sox.  My Dad had always wanted to go to Fenway and of course I loved the idea of visiting a new ball park.  In addition to seeing the game, we took the tour.  It was then, in 1998 that I fell in love with Boston.

It would be 12 more years until I would get back.

The first Boston Marathon I watched on TV was in 2008.  At the time, I was training for my first 5k.   I was home sick from work that day (truthfully) and it was the first race I ever watched on TV.  I thought these people were nuts.  Pretty sure I thought to myself more than a few times, “I’ll never do that” during the course of watching the race.  At the same time, there is something so inspirational about watching such a historic race be run by people who have trained through blood, sweat and tears to get there.

In April of 2011, my mom and I flew into Boston for the marathon weekend.  A bunch of my blogging friends were either running the marathon or like me, running the 5k.  In addition to the blogger meet-ups and racing, we were able to spend some time with one of my mom’s friends who lives right outside of Boston.  Spending time back in the city and seeing new places, made me fall in love all over again.  The weekend was a whirlwind, but it was so much fun to run the 5k, cross the line and then of course watch the marathon on Monday.  My mom and I sat just past mile 17 in the Newton Hills.  It was a great space; people weren’t hating their lives yet but you could see them pushing hard!  And I was so close to the elites when they went by.  It was awesome.

Watching the race this year is not a problem.  A-my boss is from Boston and B-my boss is a runner (ran Boston twice in the 70’s).  I asked him if it was okay to live stream it and he said, “Well, I can’t tell you no if I’ll be doing the same thing!”  So while it would be a whole lot more fun to be AT the race, I am excited I’ll get to watch it once again.

Do you have personal memories of Boston?  Where will you be watching from today?

Authentic Blogging- Who Do You Blog For?

Before I even begin, the answer to this question is obvious.  I blog for me.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to do this for myself.  This blog started as a way to journal my experiences as I went from party girl to triathlon girl to runner girl.  If you have been a reader from the start, you know triathlon wasn’t something I intended to do past the first race.  And I certainly never (ever ever ever) thought I would become a runner.  So yes, I blog for myself first.

But I also blog for you.

Who are you?  Well, I know some of you have been here for a very long time.  Some of you, I knew before my blog.  Some I have met through blogging.  I have stayed in some of your homes and I have raced races with a few of you.  Some of you come only when I have a give-a-way (which is almost never) and some of you are brand new.  Some comment once in a while and some on almost every post.  I write for all of you.  For whatever reason you come here- because you relate to me, need swimming advice, think I am funny, because you want to know how my latest race went or because you know me in real life.  I write for all of you.

Being an authentic blogger is tough.  This is one of the issues I have struggled with most in my own writing.  Not that I feel as though I am not authentic, because I truly believe I am very real.  It is more like the struggle to make sure my blogging is personal, relevant and real all at the same time.  I don’t want to blog about the same things all the time or post a list post simply because I am not sure what I have to say on a certain day.  I want every post to really mean something.  There was a time when I did not come first in my blogging and it was obvious.  And I had to stop.  Having been back writing again, I feel really good.  Yet, I still have days where I struggle with “where do I want to go with this post” or “has this been done too many times already” or “will this matter when I look back on it” when I am thinking about my topics.

When I first started blogging, I had been reading Healthy Living blogs for about a year.  They weren’t nearly all the rage they are these days, but then again, neither were running blogs.  In fact, it was hard to find a good running blog.  The ones I was finding were written by people who were “real” runners and I was just trying not to fall off the treadmill for a mile straight.  One of the main reasons I started a blog was because I wanted to find other people like me.  I have always been a writer but I was so new to triathlon and running.  I figured I would keep a blog as a journal and if I were lucky, I would find other people doing the same thing.  Little by little people did start reading…caring…asking…about me.  It was surreal.  And I loved it.

Gradually, I formed friendships, participated in blog meet-ups and even ran this race with one of the very first people I ever communicated with through blogging.  I really loved blogging.  Then something changed.  With the blog world, with me…in general, I guess.  Running blogs got really big.  Healthy Living blogs had already blown up and now running blogs were too.  Suddenly, some of the blogs I had been reading for years became immersed in ads, give-a-ways and shilling products.  I felt left out and so for a while, I tried harder.  Even though some of the posts that were written during that time are some of my favorites, I am not proud of myself for trying to be someone I am not.  Often I was posting because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to.  I was not always authentically blogging.

When I stopped blogging (I truly believed I would never blog again) it was because I needed to remove myself from feeling like I couldn’t keep up.  With how much I had going on in my life at that time, I just needed to back away.  When I decided to come back to blogging, I knew I would do it only if I could go back to how it was in the beginning.  Blogging for me first, then for my audience.  These days, most of my old readers don’t follow me.  That’s ok.  I know the ones that do and have been with me for so long are my friends and I am welcoming new readers every day.  I would rather have 10 solid readers who respect what my blog and come here for the right reasons than have to keep up with trends to keep hundreds of readers.

Here is what you will always get on my blog: Real Jillian.  A middle of the pack runner that knows her place in the world.  A regular girl who lives a pretty regular life and likes to document it in this blog.  Reviews only when it is a product I use, like and believe in and a possible give-a-way now and then.

Here is what you will never get on my blog:  product shilling, a boatload of ads, 35 rules to enter a give-a-way or in your face requests to follow me, re-tweet my posts or subscribe to my blog.

You come here for a reason.  If you didn’t like what you read, you wouldn’t.  I know from my stats that this blog gets quite a bit of traffic and people are reading.  I would rather have 5 genuine comments than 200 insincere ones.  I feel like if my blog was full of ads paying me to blog, my posts would become less authentic.  I would be blogging for traffic and not for me.  I would be forced to recommend, through ads and posts, products I don’t use or like.  I like my free not-so-big blog and I love the places blogging has taken me and the people I have met.   The blog is evolving but I am going to remain true to who I am.  Always.  That is my promise to myself and my readers.  The blog isn’t perfect, but it is mine.

What does authentic blogging mean to you?  Who do you blog for?

Solid Reminders For Running In The Heat

With the spring weather in full effect (yeah!) over here in New Jersey, I am back to being excited about running outside!  I am kind-of a baby when it comes to winter running and usually relegate myself to the treadmill because it is either A- too dark or B- too cold.  I wake up in the dark, drive home from work in the dark…I miss my Vitamin D in the winter!

Over the past weekend I began going through my clothes to start the changeover from winter to summer.  The same goes for my running gear.  Each year, as I do this, I am reminded of some solid tips for running in the heat.  If you google “summer running tips” you’ll get a million hits.  This is not new information.  I am not giving away any secrets.  However, everyone can benefit from a reminder now and then.  So let me be the millionth and one hit when you google for tips!

Here are my top 5:

1. Check the heat index:

It really isn’t enough to just check the weather.  The Heat Index tells you what the temperature feels likes when combining the air temperature and the relative humidity.  If the air quality index is code orange and you have upper respiratory problems, you may not want to run. If it’s a code red, it’s not suitable for anyone to run.  The temperature alone is not enough information.  For example, you may think it is okay to run in 84 degrees but if the relative humidity is 90% then you are dealing with 98 degrees.  No thanks!

A good way to avoid high temperatures and high heat index’s is to run early before the sun is out or after 6pm.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Please, please, please wear sunscreen.  I am amazed by runners (any outside athlete for that matter) who skip this part.  Research shows that runners have a higher rate of skin cancer than non-runners.  Makes sense given that runners are outside more during the summer months and wearing less clothes than the average person.  In addition, remember to protect your lips from the sun too.

3. Drink, drink, drink

Don’t wait until you are running to begin drinking.  Get those fluids in starting before you run.  Make sure you have enough fluids on your run.  Either carry a bottle, wear a hydration belt or make sure your route includes water fountains or other options for drinking.  In addition to water, if you are out there for more than 30-45 minutes you need to start supplementing with electrolytes.  The hotter it is, the more you sweat and you need to replace the vital electrolytes.

4. Dress the part

Technical clothes (I seriously cringe when I see runners in cotton!), light colors, wiking socks, a visor (hats serve to keep heat in and are great for winter, but not for summer unless they are a light technical hat) and sunglasses (with UV protections) will all help aid with keeping cool and safe in the heat.   I love Nike Dri-Fit clothes in the summer and C9 from Target is fabulous.  I live by Balega hidden comfort socks but there are a variety of great light wiking socks on the market.  In the photo above, I am wearing tank and shorts both by C9, balega hidden cool socks, my Team Triumph visor and Foster Grant Ironman UV protected sunglasses.

5. Be smart & safe.

This tip is for year round.  The best tip for running ever, no matter what season, is to run safe and smart.

  • Invest in a road ID– Get one. Now. Do it.
  • Bring your phone-  if you end up stranded, hurt or in any way in need of someone, this is your lifesaver.
  • Change up your routes- Not only does it make running more fun but makes you less predictable.
  • Ditch the music- If you MUST wear an IPod, run with one ear bud out.  I really like running with music, but always keep my ear closest to the road open.
  • Keep your eyes open- You might see the car but there is no guarantee the car sees you.  Assume every driver is distracted and pay close attention especially when running on the shoulder (always against the flow of traffic) and at intersections.  When crossing a street, make eye contact with the driver.
  • Run in populated areas- Chances are if it is populated with runners it is safe.  And if you get hurt or have an emergency there will be people around to help.
  • Be visible- Wear bright colors and if you are running at night wear reflective clothing, tape or lights.
  • Trust your gut- If someone looks shady, they might be; if a street looks scary, it could be; if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Have tips to add?  Please do!