MCM Training [Week 9]

     Currently bawling my eyes out because my baby brother is at school for his first day of junior year today. I cannot believe it! It is a good thing I am four hours away or else I would’ve driven him crazy with pictures this morning. 😉 He’s even old enough to have a friend drive him to school. AH!

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I always get so emotional about “milestones” in both of my brother’s lives, so that makes me wonder how I will act when I have children of my own. Hopefully I am not an emotional mess their entire lives! Hahaha

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Welcome to Week 2 of The Diaries of Kylie’s Injury. If you are new around here, hello. 🙂 Right now, I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is happening in October. Three weeks ago, I was feeling a nagging pain in my leg that I thought were shin splints. Two weeks ago, I had an x-ray and found out that I have a tibial stress reaction, which is basically the start of a stress fracture. The doctor put me on bed rest (LOL not really) and I have been riding the stationary bike. More specifically, the bike where your feet pedal in front of you. That is the exercise I am permitted to do.

Sigh.

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Do you see the “0:09”? That is 9 seconds until 60 minutes is OVER! I have been trying very hard to ride for an hour, but I usually cannot mentally handle it. This past week, I stayed entertained by “saving” social media until it was time to work out so I had a ton of Instagram posts to scroll past. 😉 This worked well on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday! By Thursday, my brain figured out what I was doing and even Instagram couldn’t save the day. (The doctor never said I had to ride for a certain amount of time, it was just my personal goal to ride for an hour!) So on Thursday, I rode for 30 minutes and then did this strength workout I found on Pinterest.

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You do these exercises as supersets for 8 reps each. So you do 8 dumbbell goblet squats followed by 8 bent over rows, then you rest for 30 seconds. Next, you do 8 suitcase deadlifts followed by 8 dumbbell overhead presses, then rest for 30 seconds. The only time you rest otherwise is to switch out your weights! According to this pin, you are supposed to repeat these supersets for 15 minutes. Oh my gosh. Apparently, I haven’t done squats in a while because I am still walking like a baby deer four days later. Hahaha

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Exercise this week has also looked like 30 minutes on the bike followed by a half mile walk to the nearest Pinkberry to hang out with my friend Sarah. 🙂 I never knew about Pinkberry until I moved to this area, but I LOVE it! It is much different than other frozen yogurt I have had in the past. It actually tastes like yogurt! Ha! In my experience, frozen yogurt is just like soft-serve ice cream. Pinkberry still has all the delicious toppings, but they add them for you. On this night, I got vanilla bean frozen yogurt with cheesecake bites, cookie dough bites, and almond crunch. Because #healthy.

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On Friday, I received some good news about my Master’s seminar paper (finally accepted after lots of revisions!) so I decided I was going to celebrate by going for a jog. Not a run. A simple jog. Well, I don’t know how to jog…because I clocked a 9 minute mile. And I felt a dull ache in my leg at 0.52 miles and did not stop so…runners are also really smart.

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While I walked home and felt sorry for myself for not feeling 100% on this run, I took a picture of this fountain. Which now, in this picture, looks like a statue of a pyramid. But I promise it’s a fountain and there were kids splashing around. 🙂 I left them out of the photo ha!

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I couldn’t let Friday feel like a complete fail, so when I got back home, I went into the gym. In my personal opinion, injuries come when I am slacking off in other areas of exercise…such as strength training. On Friday after my not-so-successful jog/run, I did lots of core work, including these planks where my arms are flat on the ground. Just turning your arm over and putting your palms flat on the floor makes the plank position so much more challenging!

These are my running (or resting) rambles for the week. I feel like I am metaphorically “on the bench” in the running game. What kind of exercise do you like to do when you are on the bench?! I am looking forward to doing some other low intensity workouts this week to mix it up! All ideas are welcome and appreciated. 🙂

Happy Monday!

MCM Training [Week 8]

Well.

I would love to show you lots of pictures like this.

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But in reality, my last week of training looked a lot like this. Boo.

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Let’s start from the beginning.

– Monday –

Scheduled rest day

This is the day that I drove back to Pittsburgh and surprised my family! I shopped with my mom and aunt, then headed back to my Mom’s house to cook on the grill with my Dad and my brothers for dinner. My very favorite hip hop class is called Kam Jamz and while all day, I told myself I really was going to rest on this day, ultimately I decided to go. I’m never in town. I had to! Here’s a short video of the class. It’s awesome!

I chose this video because I’m in it haha! Blue shirt, gray leggings with a purple stripe if you’re looking. 😉 If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, you should definitely get to Faster in Robinson for a Kam Jamz class on Monday night! Kam is the very best. Find her and her schedule on Facebook here!

My right shin was kind of bothering me during class. I’ve been fighting what I thought were shin splints in the past few weeks, but they seemed to have disappeared recently…until this class. All the stomping and dancing was not very good to my leg!

– Tuesday –

Scheduled 3 miles

My training increased in mileage during the week this week. I knew that I had to run 7 miles on Wednesday, so instead of pushing through these 3, I went to the gym and rode the stationary bike. Such fun!

– Wednesday –

Scheduled 7 miles

There was no way in heck I was going to be able to run 7 miles on this day. Now, the pain in my shin definitely didn’t feel like shin splints. It was very focused in one area and I could feel it just when I was standing up. I called my doctor at UPMC Sports Medicine and made an appointment. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry! This was the weirdest day ever…I went out to breakfast with my brother, I went out to lunch with a friend from high school is expecting a baby in November, I got my hair cut, I got my car inspected, and then I went out to dinner with my mom. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the gym to ride the darn bike on this day. Ha!

– Thursday –

Scheduled 4 miles

Today was the day of my doctor’s appointment. I worked with this doctor when I tore the muscle in my hip a year and a half ago. This doctor is super knowledgeable and he’s a runner so I knew I wanted to see him again while I was home about this shin issue. Side note: my left hip is the one I deal with all the time (and I know how to manage it) but of course this shin problem is on the right leg. Can’t all the injuries stick to one side of the body?! Sigh.

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The appointment started off with two X-Rays of my right shin and then I headed in to see the doctor. Dr. Mares is the best! When we looked at the X-Ray, he showed my mom and I that there is a little bump on my bone (the tibia). Basically, that bone is a little bit swollen. When your bone gets a little crack in it, that is called a stress fracture. I don’t have a crack…yet. The pain I am having and the bump on my tibia led Dr. Mares to believe I have a tibial stress reaction. This is caused by overuse, which is SO frustrating to me because I haven’t been running extra miles. I have been following this novice plan to a T!

Dr. Mares suggested that I take two weeks off and said that I am only allowed to bike. More specifically, I am only allowed to ride the bike where your feet are in front of you. Know what I mean!? I should be thankful because with a stress fracture, I would be out for 6-8 weeks. As it is, I am just frustrated because after two weeks, I am not guaranteed to be okay. I’ll be in contact with Dr. Mares again in two weeks to figure out where to go from there. I am so hoping that I don’t have to pull out of the marathon, but I really don’t want to run if I am going to get hurt. I feel terrible because I really WANT to run a full marathon and I also feel terrible because I worked so hard to raise money for Give To The World and CitiHope International, the two charities I am running for. Whatever the outcome, I still raised an amazing amount of money for those charities and if I have to spectate this race, I will. Right now I am just thinking all the positive thoughts! I am praying for a speedy recovery.

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And I’m also thinking this. 🙂

After my doctor’s appointment, I dragged my mom to the YMCA with me to ride the stationary bike. What are the chances that the other days I was at the gym this week, I used the exact machine Dr. Mares said I should be on?! It was nice to have my mom’s company on this “ride”.

– Friday –

Scheduled rest day

I drove back to DC and spent 30 minutes downstairs in the gym on the bike! I chose the Intervals program to make it a little more challenging and set the resistance to 5, whatever that means. I hadn’t been on Instagram all day so I was quite entertained while I was riding. 🙂

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I also came home to a package full of compression sleeves! I ordered this grab bag from Pro Compression because I was able to get three pairs for only $55! For this brand, that is a great deal. Compression socks/sleeves reduce swelling and inflammation, helping you to recover faster (source)! Because I got the grab bag, I wasn’t able to choose what colors I would receive, but I actually like the choices! I ordered these before this injury and now I am even more excited that I have them!

– Saturday –

Scheduled 10 miles

Derp. I slept in and then passive aggressively liked every single “YAY I DID MY LONG RUN” photo on social media. I usually love those kinds of posts but I was just not feeling the love on this morning haha! In reality, my social media friends did a lot of really great running on Saturday morning so I AM happy for them. Just not so happy for me;) 45 minutes on the bike. One bike was squeaky and one bike was making a ticking noise. I was watching TV but I kept focusing on these sounds. Made a mental note to bring headphones next time ha!

– Sunday –

Scheduled cross training

I charged my iPad, downloaded a new book to my Kindle app, took headphones, and planned to stay on the bike for one hour. Yes, people, today was finally the day I would make it to an hour!

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With 4:17 left until the 30 minute mark, I started counting down. And then once it hit 30, I peaced out. AH! I cannot make myself ride for longer than that. I wish WiFi worked in the gym so I could watch TV on my iPad! Watching the TV on the wall just isn’t the same because I can’t choose what I’m watching. #firstworldproblems

So…one week of rest down, one week to go. Lucky for me, Dr. Mares said that the first few days before I saw him when I wasn’t doing so much high intensity exercise could “count” towards my two weeks off. How am I feeling? Honestly, I feel like my leg feels the same. Tibial stress reaction, go AWAY! I still have a full week of “rest” aka biking to go so hopefully I am feeling brand new by Sunday. We shall see!

Thanks for reading my running rambles. Injuries are no fun, but I know I mentally needed this break as much as (apparently) I physically needed it, too. My mom would like me to quit right now so I don’t ruin my body, and honestly, I WANT to be able to race again, so if this isn’t the time for me to keep training, I really will step away from it. In the meantime, your positive thoughts would mean so much! Happy Monday! 🙂

P.S. First day of new teacher training in Fairfax County Public Schools. So excited!!!

My Running Story

The first time I heard someone say they were going for a run…well, I can’t even tell you how old I was. For as long as I can remember, my aunt has gone to the park or the track to jog almost every single day. When I was younger, she was one of my favorite people to spend time with (she still is!) so hearing her say she was going somewhere without me was just not cool. 😉 Sometimes she would let me come with her and I really would run and try to keep up! But I never made it too far and my mom was always nearby to pick me up when I needed it. Even with my aunt’s inspiration, my running career didn’t start until high school. Occasionally I would go running in my neighborhood, which, by the way, was completely uphill no matter which route you took, and that was about the extent of my running abilities until I went on vacation. Then I was one of those “OMG I love running on the beach” people. But let’s be honest, the beach is a prime running location!

Senior year, I decided to take running a little more seriously. I joined the cross country team. Do you know why?

Because I wanted to be on a team.

I am not a talented team sport player, so I figured I couldn’t really mess up in cross country because I was only in competition with myself and the clock. I learned so much about running during that year and I still use some of that knowledge to this day! What shoes to wear (I got shin splints real quick), what to eat before and after a race, what not to eat before and after a race, how to breathe properly, how to stretch…some good stuff.

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All of the seniors were recognized at the end of the season with a huge banner in front of their house. Remember when I said I wanted to be on a team? Hahaha

Then I went to college. I will spare you the woe-is-me-freshman-weight-gain story because there really wasn’t MUCH wrong with me at the end of freshman year besides the fact that I just felt gross. I had gained about 12 pounds and I ate and drank pretty much whatever I wanted but I had so much fun. Life is about living after all, right? The summer of 2011, I committed to being more healthy. I started going to the YMCA more often and Spinning became my #1 workout. I loved it so much that I spun my way through sophomore year and found myself in a certification class to be a Spinning instructor. 🙂

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No one likes to Spin during finals week. 😉

During the summer of 2012, I worked in the one of the Education department’s offices at Duquesne (where I went to school). This meant I had to make a decent commute downtown from the suburbs and I kind of felt like a real person for the first time. Was I supposed to wake up early and workout? Or was I supposed to work out after work when I most likely felt like crashing on the couch? I settled on morning workouts and I would do 30 minute fartleks around my neighborhood (we moved…now it is flat, thank goodness). I had no idea I was even doing fartleks, I just knew I was running quickly for 30 seconds and then jogging for 30 seconds…or maybe I would sprint mailbox to mailbox. I was basically doing speed work for short distances just so it was over quickly and I could get to work. Then I went back to the beach and fell even more in love with my soul mate workout.

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From the summer of 2011 to the winter of 2013, I typically ran 5 miles a day 6 days a week. I was starting to get really excited about how far I could go and how fast I was getting! On any given morning at 7 AM, you could find me running around downtown Pittsburgh. During holidays, family members joined me. In the warmer months, I signed up for races. It was a really great season of life.

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August 2012

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September 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

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Christmas 2012

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February 2013

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July 2013

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September 2013

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October 2013

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November 2013

By this point, I had run 2 half marathons, a 10 miler, a 10K, and three 5Ks. The half marathons were more “serious” races for me…I had a goal to finish under two hours, and I did that in 1:54 and 1:56. In the 10K, I wanted to finish in less than an hour and I just made it with a time around 58 minutes. The 10 miler and the 5Ks were just for fun (and yes, I realize how ridiculous it sounds to say I ran ten miles for fun but…). I did Color Me Rad twice and I ran the Jingle Bell Run during the holidays with friends. I have no idea what happened to me during the Jingle Bell Run but I was flying. I finished in 21:05 and that is honestly my favorite race to date because it showed me how much my body is capable of in the running world! But maybe you can see how with all of these races and an almost every day schedule of running, my body started to say no to running. I just wasn’t ready to listen. I was signed up for the 2014 Pittsburgh Half Marathon and I was convinced I was going to change my entry to the full marathon, so I started “building up my base”. Aka running more miles than I was ready for. And I ended up not even being able to lift my left leg to put pants on.

It was never a catastrophic injury…meaning I didn’t fall over while I was running or feel a great deal of pain. On New Years Day 2014, I went for a run around my neighborhood. Just 3 little baby miles to start the new year off on the right foot (or sweat out the alcohol…you will never know;))! But less than a mile into the run, my left hip just felt weird. Not pain exactly, but enough to make me say “enough” and turn around and walk home. I didn’t feel defeated because I was listening to my body and I honestly didn’t think anything serious was wrong…until this pain continued to happen every time I went running. I took a few days off (because who needs doctors) and then I paired up with my best friend Elliptical. Nothing seemed to be helping this pain/ache heal, and when I could feel the pain during my favorite hip hop cardio class, I knew something was actually wrong. I finally made an appointment at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. I was not messing around. After a few appointments, a bunch of x-rays, and a prescription to continue not running (I was secretly dying inside), the doctor informed me that I had a tiny tear in the muscle in my left hip. This is an injury that typically isn’t surgically fixed unless you are a real athlete…which I am not. I do not get paid to run. I am not in the Olympics. I just really, really like it. So my job was to go to physical therapy and not run. After that, we could talk about running again. The doctor promised it would be possible, but it definitely wouldn’t be the same as before. I may have actually sobbed and yelled at him while he was telling me all of this. I am a really great patient. 🙂

Six weeks and many hours of Netflix+elliptical later, I was cleared to run. I legitimately left my doctor’s appointment and went straight home to change and get outside. It was so fun! But I was really surprised at how different I felt. It wasn’t as easy as it used to be and I didn’t feel motivated to get out there and run again the next day because I was too scared.

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March 11, 2014

Instead of changing my half marathon entry to a full marathon entry, I tore a muscle in my hip. The worst part of the whole injury was that I essentially did it to myself. I added too many miles to my schedule too quickly and my muscles weren’t strong enough (as in I really only ever picked up weights if it was raining or something equally as silly). I spectated my first race last May…and it was actually really fun. I thought I was going to be really depressed watching everyone do what I couldn’t do, but it was fun to be so supportive, especially because I knew so many people running! I ended up selling my race entry to a teenage boy (our moms work together) and it was his first big race so it was a great feeling to know I could give him that! And even though I wasn’t officially running, I still had a tight schedule to keep as I ran to different places on the course watching my friends! The most exciting moment was finding my best friend at mile 24 and running next to her for a few seconds to give her a pep talk during her first marathon. 🙂

IMG_2930Running and I have an interesting relationship these days. My brain wants to be invincible Kylie of 2013 and my hip is always quick to remind the rest of my body that I cannot, in fact, run every day. I have to actually follow training plans now (which I should have been doing all along…sigh) and I have to actually cross train, strength train, and stretch. All of those things that us runners sometimes slack on because we are so excited about just the running part.

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First race post-injury: The City Spree, June 2014

I ran a “Hat Trick” this past fall…a 5K and a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. I think it’s safe to say I’m back in the game. But really, I don’t feel that way all the time. Many, many days when I step outside, I have the mindset of my old running self (which is great for motivation) and then I actually start moving and I remember…my body is different now. I don’t feel like I move as quickly and sometimes I don’t even feel like a “real” runner because I’m not out there being hardcore on the daily.

Really, who decides what a “real” runner is?

I’m deciding for us.

Real runners are people who run. PERIOD.

And take selfies. #realrunner

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I’m currently on week 6 of a training plan (I’m training for a 10-miler) and I am frustrated that I am this far into the plan and running every day is still not an option for me. Example: last week I ran on Wednesday, so on Thursday I should have done no running at all. And I didn’t. I had plans to go to the gym and lift. But the gym is 0.7 miles from my apartment…so I thought…what if I run 0.5 there and walk the rest of the 0.2…and then run the 0.5 home and walk the rest of the 0.2…

THIS IS WHAT RUNNER’S BRAINS DO PEOPLE.

THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN NO RUNNING ON THURSDAY.

So I did that ridiculous bit of running which really did what? Add 1 mile to my day and get me to and from the gym a tiny bit faster? And then I woke up on Friday and immediately knew my run that day was not going to feel good. It’s times like these that make me secretly hate the people who can run every day and take it for granted OR don’t use their gift. Yes, I call it a gift. But I have to remember that I was one of these people once. I don’t get to be upset with other people for their abilities. I just have to focus on my own. And that is hard. I get frustrated and want to stop trying. But I never will because running is my most favorite thing ever and I will do whatever it takes to make sure I can participate in the sport for as long as I can. If the day comes that I really do have to hang up my hat…well, I’ll probably cry first, but then I’ll have to find a new passion to pursue. I know there are MANY people who do not understand the thrill of the run. But for me…it’s relaxing even when it’s hard, it’s rewarding, it helps me focus, and it relieves stress. I get to see beautiful sunrises and sunsets and I get to do something good for my body.

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In the meantime, I’m focusing on trying to enjoy the running that I am able to do, and I’m going to try to take better care of my body. Because I only get one body and I beat it up pretty badly before. Plus, there is a bright side to the whole I-can’t-run-everyday thing. It gives me time to Spin and lift weights and go to yoga and do all of those things I felt like I didn’t have time for before. Now I just need to practice appreciating those things. Because usually, I’m wishing I was outside looking like this.

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Run happy, everyone. 🙂