Running on empty

I‘m sure this post is going to come with a fair amount of “I told you so!!”s but here I go. I haven’t been able to run for about two months now. I kept putting it off, work was extremely hectic and my knees had started to bother me. At first I thought the knee pain was related to a new migraine-prevention medicine I had recently started taking, but as far as I can tell, it’s unrelated. I kept waiting for my knees to feel better, I took motrin, it didn’t help. After a few weeks I finally caved in and called the doctor.

So it would seem I have tendinitis in my knees. She gave me some kind of anti-inflamatory cream (?!), a print-out of hard to read, hard to understand (the point of) “exercises”, told me to put some heat on it and sent me on my way. The cream you’re supposed to put on 4x a day. Which is ridiculous. Who remembers to do something 4x a day?? And a cream?? How is a cream I put on my skin going to penetrate through the cartilage of my knee and make this better?? And the exercises? Aside from the fact that I can barely read the print-out, I really don’t see how they’re going to make my knees feel better. From what I can tell in the picture (which is easier to see than the writing) it has you do things like: Sit in a chair, kick your leg forward and then back. Repeat 3 sets of 75 reps. (I’m not exaggerating on the repetitions – and that’s just ONE of the exercises!! There’s 6 more on the page like it.). As far as heat goes… do you realize how difficult it is to keep a SQUARE flat heating pad on a bent knee? WHY don’t they make a heating pad specifically designed for your knee?? I know they have those Therma-care heating pads for knees, but I think they work out to be $4 each and I would need two of them for both of my knees, every day for who-knows-how long.

So the short story is that I’m thinking I’m going to be dealing with knee pain for awhile. We’re also suspicious that the running probably had something to do with this in the first place. So… yeah. No more running for me for a good long while. If ever. I’m happy that the pain is only when I bend it so I can keep doing my other exercise classes (like Hip Hop Hustle and was going to start Turbo Kick this week too). And the bonus is that since I can’t bend down so easily anymore, I’ve had to get Zach to learn how to put his shoes on by himself… which really isn’t such a bad thing!!

(Ironic how I was running to be healthy and instead it caused me to be injured. I think I’ve mentioned before my love-hate (well, more hate) relationship with exercise? This is a good example of why that is… Something that is good for you shouldn’t cause you PAIN! At least Hip Hop Hustle is still fun and hasn’t killed me yet! LOL!)

Running Equipment

Managed to get two runs in this week, so I’m slowly working back up to where I was before I got sick. Earlier this week, I hopped on the treadmill and ran a mile right away without stopping again. I couldn’t do it again after that, only a half or 3/4’s of a mile – but I was really happy that I hadn’t completely gotten out of shape in the week+ I took off for being sick. Yesterday I wanted to run again, but I really didn’t want to go back to the gym. I missed being able to run outside, and my silly issue of not being able to get a drink while running was seriously bugging me. So I ran out and made yet another exercise purchase. Here’s what I’ve gotten to date:

Polar F7 Heart Rate Monitor
This has been instrumental in my being able to understand exactly how many calories I’m burning when I’m working out and how my body is reacting to the exercise. I can see when my heart rate is going too high and I need to pull back a bit, and I can see when it’s gone too low and I need to step it up a bit. My major complaint with it is that I’ve not been able to get it to work in the water. No matter how tight I make the chest band, no matter what I do. It thinks I’m dead in the water and gives me a heart rate of 0. Heh. Otherwise, love it.

iPod/iPhone Armband Holder
Obviously this is very handy. I keep my iphone in it, even though it has the plastic shield, it still registers when I use the touch screen.

Chain Timer iPhone App
When I’m doing my “Run 3 mins / Walk 2 mins” rotations, this app is invaluable! You can set custom chained timers and then it buzzes or plays a sound to let you know when to switch. I play my music in the background and then run this app.

Altec Lansing Backbeat Bluetooth Headset
Originally, I had been using the wired headphones with my iPhone, but the wires bouncing around while I ran really annoyed me. If I had a call come in, I’d have to disconnect everything to take the call. And of course the volume controls were on the phone itself, so to raise or lower the volume meant again, fumbling with the phone. With this headset, all these controls are on the headset itself, and no annoying wire. Take a call, change the volume, pause music play even, all with an easy click on the headset. It also will filter the ambient sound when you have the music paused, so you don’t have to take the headphones out in order to hear when people are talking to you.

And now my most recent purchase:
a Water Bottle Belt
This has been a major issue for me running outside. I can’t run for more than 5 minutes before I need to rehydrate. Not wanting to carry a bottle around in my hand, I hadn’t been bringing any water with me, which would usually lead to me feeling sick at the end of the run. This belt is really comfortable, I actually push it around and wear it on my back. It has a little pouch too so I can put keys etc. in there. I bought this last night and then ran out of the house to try it out. Very happy with it.

I also bought a Camelbak Water Bottle Sara had recommended. Worked ok. I was going to use it with the straw – but it almost immediately fell off inside. Tried to get it to stay – wouldn’t. Not sure if that’s a problem with these bottles in general, or just mine. But I did like the bottle anyway. 😀

(Isn’t it ironic that with all my exercise/running purchases, I still haven’t gotten a fancy pair of running shoes? LOL! The ones I’m using I got from Costco – they were cheap but they seem pretty good.)

Accepting the inevitable

So… it’s August 21st. Summer is pretty much over at this point. I was on week 4 (of a 13 week training program) before I got sick last week and have not exercised so much as my little finger since then. I think it’s a safe bet the 5K will not happen this summer. And being that I am such a wimp with the cold, running a 5K in the fall or winter is not going to happen either. Spring 2010. That’s the new plan. There will be plenty of time to train. Sure I could probably half-walk/half-run one now – but since I’ve never run in a 5K – I would like to try to AIM for running more than walking.

I was so proud of being able to run that mile a little more than a week ago. But when I got sick, that was the end of that for the rest of the week. I haven’t felt “right” since then. I wasn’t able to stand for more than a minute or two before my legs started hurting and/or before I’d start to feel faint and light-headed. Today is the first day I didn’t have to sit down every 5 seconds while I got ready in the morning. So I am going to try to run again tonight. I have no idea what to expect. I was up to session 2 of week 4: (which was a recover week) – back to running two minutes walking two minutes. This is probably good that it was a “recovery week” – it will help me get back into the running grove.

Learn to Run – Week 3 finally complete

If you’re not a runner, you have no idea how hard it is to run. And if you ARE a runner, you probably don’t remember how hard it is to START running. I don’t think I know many people who are in this middle training stage that I’m in. When I say “hey! I ran for 3 minutes straight without wanting to die” – to either of the groups above I’m sure it must sound so pathetic. Either way – I am now able to run for at least three minute intervals (for at least 45-50 minutes) without the kind of strain I experienced the first few times I attempted it.

In fact, last night, I wanted to exercise, didn’t want to go to the gym, the evening was so cool (and the yucky air quality finally cleared out) so I went back to the park for my run. I’d actually completed the 3rd session for the week the night before – but I didn’t want to start on week 4’s sessions – so I figured I’d just run and test myself. How far/long could I run before I really felt the need to stop? The first few times I did the three minutes. Then 4. Then I still felt good so I tried to see how far I could push myself, and ran for a solid mile without stopping once!!! I stopped looking at my watch and started gauging distances instead. 1/3 of a mile became no problem. I was only able to do the mile once last night. The rest of the times I would just do 1/3 of a mile, then walk for a minute or two and then run another 1/3.

Still, I can’t tell you how empowering being able to run that mile was. I’m planning on taking a rest day today to give my knees and legs a break. Then Week 4 starts on Sunday!

Here are a few pictures from my run:

Learn to run: on hold

This is the second time I’ve tried to complete the week 3: session 1 run. (Run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes x 10) I don’t know if it’s that I’m getting dehydrated, or the heat is sticking around a little longer the last few weeks (or both), but I’m able to get to about 30minutes, and then my body just quits. I feel sick to my stomach and I know if I don’t stop, I won’t even be able to make the walk back home. I’m also wanting to try to work in a few new things too – so I can’t commit to running 3x a week. I want to try an aqua aerobic class, there’s a new dance/aerobic type class starting soon, and I need to squeeze that weight training in. I’m not giving up completely, but just going to change things up. I’m going to try to run at least once a week – and I’m going to keep trying to finish the full session. I’ll go for as long as I can and stop when I start to feel sick.