Sunday, December 29, 2013

Use It or Lose It.

Things I am learning in my Phoenix-like comeback:

This is EXACTLY how I look when I rise from the ashes of a broken foot.

1.  No cardio for five months is a killer.  It doesn't matter how many sit-ups or pushups I can do (and I can do a lot!); I have not increased my heartbeat or struggled through a breathing challenge, and that makes a huge difference.  A few days ago I did four miles on a hilly path, and it kicked my butt.  My pace was over two minutes more per mile than I'm used to.  When I tried it again yesterday, I looked for any excuse to walk some of the hills.  I kept thinking, "Wow, when I used to run at this pace, I barely even broke a sweat!  What is happening to me?"  It took a little bit of reflection and diving into my selective memory to figure out that I used to struggle on those hills just going two miles.  In fact, I once bonked hard on that path, and it scared me so badly that I thought I'd never be able to run again.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I bonk.

2.  ANY cardio is good cardio.  When I wasn't a runner, I was doing kickboxing, walking, biking, and dancing as exercise.  I need to get back to doing other forms of cardio to balance out my running.  I tried some simple exercises on the Wii Fit yesterday, and it kicked my butt.  Like everything else, apparently.

3.  No yoga for five months is REALLY a killer.  I couldn't do yoga because I couldn't put any weight on my broken foot.  What I've learned is that although yoga makes me feel awesome during and after the session, it really is necessary to maintain muscle tone and flexibility.  I have been waking up every day in extreme pain on my left side glute and hamstring.  It hurts so bad I sweat.  I feel better after stretching out, but it is a long process, and that never used to happen to me.  I need to better incorporate yoga and stretching into my daily routine to regain what I've lost.

Maybe if I stopped doing yoga on a surfboard, I wouldn't be so sore.

4.  For the first time ever, I may have to consider taking ibuprofen after running, and oddly enough, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am RUNNING ON A BROKEN FOOT!!!  Tell me it isn't age.  It's not, right?

Do you take pain meds?  How is the stretching going?  How do you rise like the Phoenix?

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Caroling on the Run

Thursday I ran with The Ohio Runner's Network for the annual Christmas Lights Run.  This was a four mile run with planned stops at beautifully decorated houses.  We got all gussied up with elf costumes and Christmas lights and bells.  Since people often consider me a Bah-Humbug type of person, I was able to do the minimum lights and still exceed expectations.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm Christmas Caroling!

We stopped at about five houses where we sang lots of carols.  The best part was strolling through the decorated grounds of Stan Hywet Hall, and we even got a photo-op with Santa Claus.

After the caroling, we descended en masse upon the bars and restaurants of Highland Square.  I got a buffalo chicken sub from Mr. Zubs, and then I settled in with my peeps and a Christmas Ale at the Highland Tavern.  It felt so great to be back running again, although five months without cardio has really taken its toll on my body.  It was nice to feel those endorphins (I love you, Man!), and it was nice to know that I can slowly come back to where I was before.

I'm a very driven person; I continually set goals for myself, and I continually evaluate my progress toward those goals.  Sometimes it's nice to run without a time goal or a distance goal.  Sometimes it's nice to be with friends and celebrate running and camaraderie. . .in theory.  In reality, I set new goals as I drank my beer and ate my sub.  When I come back fully, and I now am confident that I will, I will run three half marathons, two in the spring and one in the fall.  I will run the spring races just for endurance, and then I will speed train for the 2014 Akron Half Marathon.  My peeps and I are forming the "Under 2 Club," and our goal is. . . you guessed it, the Akron Half in under two hours.  It's a lofty goal, considering my best time so far is 2:12:21.  I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

My peeps are elves.  Really.  This was their night off from the tyranny of Santa.

Do you participate in a Christmas Lights Run in your neck of the woods?  Does anyone do Pub-Running?

Do you want to get in on this kind of fun?  Join The Ohio Runner's Network and let the games begin!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dancing/Running in the Moonlight

Last night my heart was all a-flutter as I set up for a possible morning run--my first one since August 4 (Click here to find out what happened). I hung up my winter running clothes, plugged in the Garmin and the phone, set out my shoes and socks, and dug in my gear bag for my hat, headlamp, gloves, and Run ID.  Whew!  Whoever said running was simple?  I nervously checked the weather app a gazillion times and my last thought before sleep was, "Please, God, no icy rain!"

Why was I so excited?  I have been injured for months, and this would be my first run since getting the green light from my orthopedist (Look here to find out why my orthopedist isn't a sadist who intends to chop off my foot).

This morning I checked my phone, and my friend Teresa was there with the go-ahead.  I geared up, my mind racing.  What if my foot hurt?  What if I snapped it off?  What if a zombie came out of the woods and tried to eat our brains on the trail?

Brains!  Runners' brains!!!

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating.  Of COURSE my foot won't snap off.

The moon was full.   The air was cold and crisp.  The morning was quiet (except for my hawking and blowing my nose).  The woods were beautiful.

This is how it looked, but with a full moon in the sky.

I did 2.86 miles on the trail, and I loved every minute of it.  Best of all, my foot didn't hurt a bit, and it hasn't hurt today at all.  I am so happy.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Weird News on Friday the 13th

I think I'm back!

For those who have not followed my whining and moaning for the past FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS, here is the post about my stupid stepping on a nut injury.  Go catch up; we'll wait.

When I saw that I had scheduled an appointment to review my CT scan on Friday the 13th, I was a wee bit apprehensive.  After all, what if the consultation went like this?

Dr. Tucker doesn't carry around pointy objects. . . at least not during office visits.

I thought that no good could come of this appointment:  either I need surgery (and I would be off the foot for a minimum of 6 weeks, plus the complications that might follow) or I should just let it heal (which would be MORE time without running or cardio).  I was dreading the results.

I was wrong.

"Well, you are definitely not healing anymore," Dr. Tucker said.  "Are you in any pain?" she asked while poking at my foot.  "How about here?  Here?  What about here?"

I shook my head.  "No, my pain is less than a level-1.  Sometimes the foot aches if it's cold outside."  I cringed and waited for the death-blow. . .and waited. . . and waited.  I opened my eyes.

"I'm not going to operate."


"Seriously, I'm not going to operate.  Why should I?  The foot doesn't bother you.  I don't treat x-rays; I treat people.  I think you should just do what you want to do."


"But. . .but. . .I can't run then," I stammered.

"Why not?" she asked.  "What's the worst thing that could happen?"

"I break the foot even more. . ."


"I need surgery."

"Right.  So you would be no better off than you are now.  Besides, I think you won't break it.  I think that your foot has built up enough strength with fibers and tendons, and you probably won't notice the break.   So, take it slowly, build it back up, but definitely go back to doing what you love. If you have problems, call me, and we will rethink the whole thing."

Apparently, I have an "asymptomatic nonunion."  This means that the bones won't rejoin, but I can't feel any symptoms of the fracture; about five percent of fractures turn out this way.  Doc says that people walk around all the time oblivious to the fact that they have broken bones.  If it doesn't hurt, why operate?

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am overjoyed!

Of course, I will go slowly.  I'm going to keep up with the Leslie Sansone walking DVDs, but now I'm going to throw in the running parts when she does.  Christmas Break is in two weeks, so I think I will try two miles to see how I feel.   I MIGHT even be able to walk/run the Christmas Lights Run next week!

Like what you see?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Community Running Stores: The Best Small Businesses

Today was the Tryptophan Run, sponsored by Vertical Runner in Hudson, Ohio.  It is a free social running event in which runners have two hours to run a two-mile loop as many times as they wish.  For each loop, the runner drops a number in a hat, and at the end of the two hours there is a drawing with lots of free prizes.

I wanted to walk a few loops this year, but I was afraid of damaging my broken foot.  Last year I ran five loops, and then I took a break for coffee in one of the local coffee shops.  After the running, we all gathered in the store for the drawing, and while I didn't win anything, many of my friends did.  It was a great time.

Runners are a close-knit community.  Many of us know each other from running groups, races, or just passes on the road or trail.  There are many runners I recognize on Facebook whom I would never recognize face to face (well, maybe with running gear on).  We know about each others' injuries, race victories, and digestive problems.

Runners are weird, right?

A good running store is a part of the local running community.  Vertical Runner is a chain, but the owners are all local runners who encourage the community.  Vince Rucci, owner of Vertical Runner Hudson, has no idea who I am, but he makes sure to invite me to every Vertical Runner event.  I have seen Vince on the Pine Run trail, I have seen him among groups of runners, and I have seen his back-end as he blew by me numerous times on the Tryptophan Run last year.  He has provided water, Gu, and Gatorade on practice race runs, and he gives out awesome prizes in the Tryptophan drawing.

When you see this truck, you know something fun is going on.

Sure, I can go online and order Saucony Guide 6s (not anymore) for a small discount, but the question is, why would I?  Vertical Runner gives a ten percent discount to my running club (The Ohio Runners Network), and I can get great service there.

American Express started a tradition of supporting small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving, called Small Business Saturday.  While I don't own an American Express card, and I rarely step out of my house for at least two days after Thanksgiving, I would suggest that we can support small businesses at any time of the year.  Running stores like Vertical Runner (and Second Sole) invest in the community, so I would like to return the favor.

Thank you, community businesses.  Thank you, Vertical Runner!  I'll be running with you at the Tryptophan Run in 2014!