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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Runner's Least Favorite Words: Stress Fracture


This is what a bone scan image of a tibial stress fracture looks like.

After two months of pain (and denial) in my right shin, I finally know exactly what's wrong. I went to the doctor about a month ago, and he recommended easing back on my running. With the Boston Marathon just weeks away, I cut back and focused on cross training. In the two weeks leading up to Boston, I only ran three miles.

I haven't run at all since Boston. When I got home from the race, I called my doctor and asked to get an X-Ray of my leg. It came back clear, but because my leg wasn't getting better, he ordered a bone scan.
As soon as the image came up on the screen, I was pretty sure it was a stress fracture since there was a glowing white spot in the exact place of my pain.

It is still sinking in that I won't be able to run for 4-6 weeks. Today has been a roller coaster of emotions.
But I'm trying to be positive. I am trying to focus on the fact that I finally know what is wrong and can work toward helping my leg heal and making sure my body is strong when I can run again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Burgers, Cannoli and Meb

I couldn't capture everything from my Boston experience in one post. So here is some randomness I wanted to share...and some things I just want to remember.

There were so many little details about the race that I want to remember, like the yellow and blue fire hydrants in Ashland.

There were daffodils everywhere along the course and tons of them at the finish. They were planted by a group called Marathon Daffodils who planted thousands of bulbs last fall so the yellow flowers would line the course in honor of the bombing victims and to preserve the spirit of the marathon. Their goal was to have 100,000 daffodils along the course on Marathon Monday.

Monday night, after the race, there was an open house for the runners and volunteers at Fenway Park. It was fun to see the park, the World Series trophies and meet some of the other runners.

Scott, the hubs, got to his waiting spot before the race began, so he got to wait for me near the elite's fuel table. He also got a front row view of the Meb, Shalane and the others as they passed. And he said yes, you can tell they are going fast!



I didn't have much of an appetite after the race, but I more than made up for it on Tuesday. We went to Wahlburgers for lunch, and Paul Wahlburg happened to stop in while we were eating. He congratulated me and humored us graciously while we took this picture.

The food was yummy. I had the BBQ Bacon Burger and shared sweet potato tots with Scott.

Our other celebrity sighting happened in Lindt when we were picking up treats to take back to our girls. We recognized this guy when he walked in, but couldn't quite place him. Luckily the guy working behind the counter was apparently a die-hard NKOTB fan, so we didn't spend too long trying to figure out why he looked so familiar.
Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block
Making up for my loss of appetite also happened in the form of a trip to Mike's Pastry, thanks to my friend Jessica's recommendation. I was hesitant to get a cannoli because I'm usually not a big fan, but it's what they're known for so I caved and got a peanut butter cannoli. It was yummy. So was the Boston Cream Puff we got!


On Tuesday, we took in a little more history with a visit to Bunker Hill Monument. I took in the view while Scott climbed up and down the 294 steps to the top of the monument. My legs weren't quite up to it after Monday's race.


Random Thing To Remember: Salted Caramel Gu and Hammer Endurolyte tablets were my race fuel. I ate a Gu at miles 4ish, 11ish and 18ish. I knew I would want that last boost of energy before heading into the Newton hills. I took electrolyte tablets around miles 7, 13 and 20. I drank water at almost every aid station because it was so warm and I could tell I was sweating more than usual. I could feel the salt on my forehead pretty early on, so I wanted to make sure I stayed hydrated. I even drank a little Gatorade at the last few aid stations, even though I really don't like the lemon-lime flavor. I also dumped water on my head at almost every aid station.

Random Thing To Remember: Don't wait until Sunday to drive the course if you don't have to. The closer we got to Hopkinton on Sunday morning, the slower the traffic moved. By the time we turned around at the start to drive back to the finish, the traffic going toward the start was backed up a loooong way.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014 Recap

You know that feeling you get at the end of a marathon? Not the one where you feel like you can eat anything and everything the rest of the day and not feel bad about it. The other feeling. The one you can't quite put into words that makes you want to run another one.

Double that feeling. Then double it again, and you still haven't captured what it felt like when I crossed the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday.

From the moment I walked into the Hynes Convention Center to pick up my number on Friday to Tuesday night when I last walked past the bare bleachers, fading finish line and other hints of that incredible journey on Boylston Street, it exceeded my expectations.

I still haven't figured out how to put it into words and capture it all, but I'm going to try.

I flew to Boston on a red-eye on Friday morning. The one good thing about taking a midnight flight is that I didn't have any problem adjusting to the time change. My body fell into step with the two hour (later) time difference. After arriving on Friday, the hubs and I checked into our hotel, showered and changed, then made a quick stop on the way to the expo to pick up these:

The hubs tried to get me a pair last month when they first released them, but they are a limited edition and were sold out within hours of being released. Saucony released another batch Friday morning, and we were able to get the last pair in my size at a Marathon Sports store. They also sold them at the expo, but they sold out quickly!

The energy at the expo was awesome. I picked up my number, bought my jacket and other "essentials."

Saturday the hubs and I went to the Boston Temple.

Then we spent some time taking in the incredible events that took place in Concord. We wandered into a group of US Army soldiers who had just finished the Tough Ruck Marathon. Normally these soldiers "bandit" the race, in full uniform, carrying their fully loaded packs. Because of security this year, they were not going to be able to run on the course during the race, so they organized a more formal event in partnership with the National Parks Service and the BAA. It was incredibly inspiring to talk to them and get to experience a little part of the event.

Sunday morning we got up and drove the course first thing in the morning. Then we hit the expo again for a bit and walked to the starting line for the Utah runners meet up.


Then we attempted to go to the official marathon dinner, but the line was incredibly long. Like at least an hour wait kind of long. I was hungry and getting cold, so we grabbed some takeout and headed back to the hotel.
This picture does NOT do the line for dinner justice. It was LONG!!
This picture does NOT do the line for dinner justice. It was LONG!!!

And then it was Monday. Marathon Monday. Race day.

I got up right when my alarm went off at 5:30 am, got ready and the hubs dropped me off at my friend Jessica's hotel. This was her third Boston Marathon, so it was great to be with someone who knew what she was doing. We walked to the busses and headed to Athlete's Village. The weather was perfect, and the company helped the time pass quickly.

All of a sudden it was time to line up in our corrals. Jessica and I were one corral apart, so we headed over together and wished each other good luck before I headed to the port-o-potty one last time. Then I finished the walk to the start line, and it was literally time to start running. And then I was running the Boston Marathon!!!

I was overwhelmed by emotion as we ran past the spectators lining the first half mile or so. Then I got into a groove and just took it all in. There were spectators ALL along the course. I don't remember going more than ten feet without someone cheering us on. And the support in the towns was truly incredible. As I finished the first 5k, I could tell my legs weren't as fresh and ready as they have been for past marathons. But I wasn't worried about it because I was there to have fun, to soak it all in. It wasn't about my splits or my finishing time. It was about the experience.

When I hit mile five, I started to get excited. I knew I would see the hubs in the next mile or so, so I really took in the crowds. It was fun to see the signs and give the kids high fives. And then I saw him:

At mile 8 my leg really started to hurt. It had ached a little during the first seven miles, but then it really started to hurt. I wondered if I would need the pain pill I had brought with me, just in case, but worried about how it would affect my stomach. And based on experience, I knew it would make my legs feel kind of weird and unsteady, so I focused instead on how I know I am strong and can run through pain, and I thought about the people who sent me well wishes and prayers. By the end of mile 8, my leg did not hurt at all. I don't talk openly about my faith very much on here, but I have to acknowledge here my complete faith in the power of prayer. The next 17 pain free miles were undeniable proof of its power.

I struggled between miles 14 and 16 like I normally do between 18 and 20. It worried me a little, but I reminded myself that I just had to finish. Even if I had to walk. Even if it took five hours. It didn't matter. That's not what it was about.

I didn't walk. And it didn't take five hours. I read all the Wellesley College girls' "kiss me" signs at the Scream Tunnel. Then I powered through the Newton Hills, which are very different when you run them than when you drive them. I kept waiting to get to the top of Heartbreak Hill but am still not sure which of the hills it was. I guess that's a good thing.

I loved every second running down Beacon Street, crowded with deafening spectators. It made me sad to pass a girl being treated by medics just a few miles from the finish. But then seeing a blind runner and her guide inspired me and pushed me forward.

I turned right on Hereford. Left on Boylston. And then I could see the finish line. The finish line I didn't let myself even imagine ever crossing until I unbelievably began to think a BQ was a possibility last spring.

I thought I would be more emotional as I crossed, but I was just overwhelmingly happy. I made my way through the finisher's area and finally headed toward the family meeting area to find the hubs. I couldn't stop smiling. I had just run the Boston Marathon.


That night I completed the full Boston Marathon experience at the Fenway Park open house for runners and volunteers. Then we headed to the party at the House of Blues.

We got there right as they were introducing the winners. It was awesome to hear Meb talk about how he has spent the past year looking forward to the race and wanting to bring home the win for the U.S. During the race, I got a little teary when I heard someone yelling that Meb had won.



From start to finish, it was a day I will never forget.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Never Give Up (1 week to Boston!!)

The one week countdown has officially begun. Yep! One week from today, I'll be running the streets of Beantown. Maybe then it will finally sink in that I really worked my booty off, believed in myself and qualified last September. Maybe.
It has been difficult to get excited since I'm logging all my miles on the elliptical and the stationary bike. I might go crazy and ride an actual bike tonight and brave the waters of the swimming pool tomorrow to mix things up a little. I'm planning on making the most of the race, no matter how my leg is doing. I think I might steal my mantra from Dean Karnazes:

This week is a busy one. But I plan on posting about my Boston adventures, so stay tuned. The adventure officially begins on Friday!

In the meantime, it is (past) time to announce the winner of the Spartan Race Entry Giveaway!
And the winner is:
Greg Pochron!!!!!

Please email me at candice@runnerd.com, and I will send you the information to register for the race of your choice. Congratulations!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

There is good in every day

I've been thinking a lot about injuries as I try to nurse my leg back to health. This is the first time an injury has impacted me this much. It isn't just a physical inconvenience. It has messed with me mentally. Not just because running is my release and my feel-good drug. It has affected my confidence in myself as a runner.

I'll admit it has been hard to see running posts on Instagram and to hear about people's runs and races. I have a friend who suffered a stress fracture last winter. At the time, she expressed how hard it was to see running posts and hear her friends talk about running. I now understand that feeling. The feeling is a little bit of envy mixed with a whole lot of sadness and longing. But I'm trying to focus on being happy for others and their accomplishments; I'm trying to be supportive and encouraging. This ultimately makes me happier. It's truly amazing what focusing on the positive can do in any situation.

Yet I soooo long for that feeling of just running. Getting lost in a run. Having the miles pass without thinking about pace or distance because all that matters is that feeling of moving forward, of putting one foot in front of the other. When there is constant pain, there is no getting lost in a run.

So here I sit with ice wrapped around my leg, reminding myself that this too shall pass. I will be able to run pain free again. I don't know when, but until that day, I'll continue to do the things I can now that will make me a better runner in the long run.

I'll spend time on the bike. I'll swim and ellipticize my heart out. I'll strengthen my core. I'll get caught up on my Runner's World issues that have been stacking up. But mostly I'll just keep finding the good in every day.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Because I'm happy...and a giveaway

I had a happy run this morning. I love those kinds of runs!

My leg is on the mend and letting me run without too much discomfort. The fact that this was only my second run this week has helped give it time to heal. After my little five miler on Tuesday, I got sick and spent Wednesday and Thursday feeling lousy. I finally feel a little more like myself today. Here's hoping we can all stay healthy around our house for a while. We're certainly due.

So I didn't tell you much about my Saturday run. In a nutshell, it was hard. That morning, I did something that caused my SI joint in my back to lock up, and then I attempted a long run while in serious pain.

Then there was the wind. I ran the first seven miles against a serious headwind, so I asked the hubs to take me up the canyon in hopes that the wind would be heading in a more cooperative direction for the rest of the miles. Nope. The wind was gusting up the canyon, so I ran another eight or so with a headwind. I had a little relief the last three miles, once I got on a different trail, with only a few unpleasant gusts.
The canyon also gave me this little obstacle...

I don't know who the guy in the picture is, but he is standing on the avalanche that covered and blocked the trail at some point this winter. For the record, it is much higher on the side you can't see, so it was impossible to climb over. Especially in running shoes. So I had to climb through it (see stars in image). Fun times!

During my 18 miles, there were tears, and I may have said some words that we don't say at our house. But my family was there every few miles to keep me going. I probably wouldn't have made it even five miles without their constant encouragement. I did cut the run a little short, but that is was what my body needed.
My back, after multiple efforts this week to get it unlocked and relaxed enough to stay unlocked, is doing much better. So today's run was bliss by comparison.

Plus it's Friday, so what's not to be happy about. Need another reason, then enter to win a free entry to a Spartan Race. Yep, I saved the best for last. You can win an entry to the Spartan Race of your choice (in the U.S.) by doing the following:
  • Visit the Spartan Race web site and leave a comment here telling me which race you want to run.
  • For a bonus entry, post about this giveaway on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please leave a comment letting me know you posted or tag @ihaverun on IG and Twitter or the I Have Run page on FB.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Friday, April 11.
While you are in the Spartan mode, be sure you check out the new Official Shoe of Spartans!

The new Reebok All-Terrain Series is strategically designed with drainage ports that drain water quickly and easily and have 360 degrees of traction to shed mud. It's the shoe that can handle any abuse a Spartan can give it so you are unstoppable on any course.

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