Tag Archives: knee

A Rocky Road That’s Not Sweet

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Snickers really satisfies, except for my running.

Hi there, stranger.  It’s been a long time since we talked about running.  Why’s that, you ask?  Because I haven’t been doing it, because I can’t do it, and that has led me to a life of chocolate.  Ok, I was already living a life of chocolate, but now chocolate fills both the chocolate void and the running void, which is too much chocolate, even for me.

 

After the New Year and the RWRunStreak ended, the polar vortex hit the East Coast and I had a perfect excuse to take a few days, then a few more, off from running.  I did some strength/interval training in the meantime, and on lucky January the 13th, one year after I successfully completed the Goofy Challenge at Disneyworld (the half marathon followed by the full marathon the next day), I ran 3 miles in Central Park.

 

Those three miles felt pretty great.  The weather was nice, and my knees barely hurt at all.  But that all changed overnight, when I woke on Tuesday to crazy knee pain in both knees.  It hurt to simply walk.  I iced, I tried to (mentally) shake it off, and by Wednesday they didn’t hurt every moment of the day, and by Thursday I could do my bodyweight interval exercises (like planks and squats) without much problem.

 

I was planning on doing my “long” run on that Saturday – aiming for 5 or 6 miles, but probably doing 4.  My marathon training program had me at 18 miles, but I was trying not to think about that.  Anyway, I went out into Central Park on the main loop and felt woefully out of shape.  I took a walk break after running up Cat Hill, but when I tried to start running again my right knee was having none of it.  For the past year I’ve been battling my left knee, but suddenly my right knee has decided to get in on the injury game.

 

My knee wasn’t warming up, and any pressure beyond walking made it hurt, so I scrapped the run and walked straight across the park back home.  And that’s when some serious running depression kicked in.  My next marathon (Little Rock, Arkansas) is in only 6 weeks.  I’m supposed to be running almost 40 miles a week right now, with long runs of 18 to 20 miles, but I can’t run one mile without pain.

 

So now I have to seriously consider a DNS (Did Not Start) and waste my nonrefundable airline ticket and race fee, or fly out there and face the pain and embarrassment of a DNF (Did Not Finish).  I say embarrassment not because a DNF is inherently embarrassing (far from it – sometimes not finishing is the smartest thing you can do), but because it’s almost embarrassing at this point for me to even try.  It’s one thing to miss a few training runs and generally run races undertrained, and another to be ridiculously unable to run and yet attempt a race anyway.  I don’t want to be irresponsible, and I know I would never do anything that might cause lasting damage, but I also hate to miss a race, and I think I could walk it without any major problems.  But I also don’t want to start being a marathon walker

 

So, there’s my rocky road choice – ice cream or a Snickers bar.  No, wait… the choice is to skip Little Rock or fly out there and maybe walk it.  I know where I’m leaning now (walk it), but I won’t have to make any decisions until later in February.  Since I’ll be travelling for the next three weeks, I’ll have a lot of time to think about it, a lot of time to do PT exercises and rest, and a lot of time to not run and eat chocolate.

 

Snickers Rockin' Nut Road candy bar cross-section.  Mmm mm.

Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road candy bar cross-section. Mmm mm.

If you’re wondering how that Rocky Road Snickers bar was, it was good.  The marshmallow wasn’t too sweet and was much lighter in texture than the traditional nougat,  the chocolate was dark instead of milk, and the nuts were almonds instead of peanuts.  I love Snickers Almond, and I’ve been obsessed with marshmallow chocolates, so this was right up my alley.  I was worried it would taste cheap or have that unpleasant artificial aftertaste some marshmallow chocolates have, but it didn’t.  Overall it came together beautifully, and I’d definitely buy it again.

 

How’s your winter running coming along?  Have you ever not used a non-refundable airline ticket?  Do you have any magic spells to make knees not hurt?  Share in the comments!

Day 25 of Holiday Run Streak – Whistler While You Run

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The closest I’ll ever get to the Olympics.

I’ve crossed the border into Canada, and am currently enjoying beautiful Whistler, BC. My knee, however, is not enjoying it back. Today was the one day I was going to go snowboarding (after I don’t know how many years of not snowboarding), but my joints had other plans.

 

I’ve been faithfully putting in my one mile every morning, despite some knee pain returning over the past several days, and despite a travel schedule that includes early breakfasts and a lot of driving. Today was no different, except that after my (slightly painful) mile on the treadmill, I was going to go check out the awesome Canadian mountain on a snowboard.

 

I got all layered up (wool tights under fleece tights under snow pants, with two long-sleeved running tops under three jackets, plus gloves, goggles, neck gaiter, hat), went through the rental process (boots, board, and helmet for $68), and schlepped myself and my gear to the lift ticket kiosk (one adult for one day $114), to stand in line for the gondola to the top of the mountain. At this point, my knee was already screaming from the boots and the awkward knee-bending stance they give you, and even my good knee got tweaked while walking across the parking lot. Then, it started to rain.

 

I knew the rain in the village was snow on top of the mountain, which meant the conditions were probably awesome, but at the moment I was sweaty, in pain, and waiting in a line that made the TSA lines look like a foot race. After 20 minutes of waiting to get halfway through the line, during which I gave myself endless pep talks that weren’t working, I flexed my knees and went through some of the typical snowboard motions. Nope nope nope. Not happening. I ducked under the metal barrier and sat on the curb. Sunk cost? Should I wait it out and try again later? Should I try a short run off a smaller lift to see how it goes? Should I just try to return everything and skip my one shot at skiing Whistler?

 

I asked myself, how would I feel if I inured my knees, not even so badly as to need surgery, but just enough to take me out of commission for a couple months. That’s when I finally pulled the plug and went back to the rental shop. I explained that my knee was in too much pain to even try boarding and they were nice enough to give me a full refund (it helped that I walked out of the shop seemingly only moments before, and I had obviously not used the gear). I then went to guest services to see if I could get a refund on the lift ticket (not thinking it was likely) but lo and behold, they could tell I never even scanned my ticket (yay technology!), so I got a full refund on that, too.

 

I’m disappointed I couldn’t go snowboarding today, but after squeezing into all my layers and heavy boots, sweating into those heavy layers, (almost) spending a lot of money, waiting in a long line while inching a heavy, sharp-edged board forward, and then returning everything, I feel like I got an authentic ski experience anyway. Plus, I had newfound time to wander the village shops and buy some foreign candy bars I hadn’t yet tried.

 

Eat More Wunderbar Coffee Crisp Cadbury chocolates

I like the instruction on the first candy bar. PS The Wunderbar was delicious.

Crossing my fingers my knee(s) will feel better tomorrow. I did walk a lot today, and it didn’t feel great, but I’m also icing it for the first time since New York, so I hope that helps. I’m so close to the end of this Run Streak I can taste it. And it tastes like a foreign candy bar.

 

How’s your streak going? Have you ever skied Whistler? Want to tell me what I missed? Share in the comments!

Day 8 of Holiday Run Streak – Back Home and Lazy

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It doesn’t look like midtown, but it’s in there.

I’m back in NYC and good news is I just saved $2.50 by running to midtown. The bad news is my knee still hurts (worse?) and I feel like the Run Streak is actually making me lazier.

 

Because my knee hurts, and because I only have to run a mile, I only run a mile. Granted, I’ve been running every day, but my weekly mileage of 7 is lower than even my laziest weeks this summer. The only thing this Run Streak is guaranteeing is that I take a shower each day and have a lot more laundry than usual.

 

I will keep icing, and stay positive, and not think too much about that 15K I have next weekend. I don’t know the metric system very well, but I think 15K is more than a mile…

 

How’s your RWRunStreak going? Running more than a mile? Share in the comments!

Day 3 of Holiday Run Streak – And the Knee Pain Continues

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Ridiculously staged photo, but then I actually sat like this while I wrote this whole post.

I’ve made it through Day 3 of the Holiday Run Streak, doing one mile each day (although today I covered 1.2 miles, or my “long run” as my sister said). I’m already so used to running only 1 mile that even tacking on that extra .2 felt a bit of a burden. I hope it’s because I’ve been doing my miles on a treadmill, which I rarely use and mostly hate, but I fear it’s also because the knee pain is back with increasing strength. Not crippling, but instead of taking a post-run stroll on the beach with my sis, I opted to ice my knee on the couch.

The other bad habit I’ve fallen into is skipping any dynamic warm-up or cool down stretch. That’s been because the first two days I was quite rushed for time, but today I have no excuse. I’ve also forgotten to put anti-chafe on my poor feet, but they’ve held up well when only about 11 minutes of running are required.

 

I’m trying not to turn this into a “one mile” run streak, but until I get back home and figure my knee out, it might just be that. The runner’s gluttony continues, however, as I try to get my money’s worth from the all-inclusive buffet. Did they really expect I would not eat the free, self-replenishing, king-sized peanut M&Ms in the mini fridge, in addition to the breakfast ice cream, lunchtime pudding, tea time cake, plated dinner dessert, and turn-down chocolates? You know me better than that, readers. You know me better than that.

 

Do you know of any resorts that stock free Pop Tarts in the minibar? How is your RWRunStreak going? Share in the comments!

Day 1 of Holiday Run Streak – Feliz Thanksgiving!

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Proof.

Today I am thankful that I did not break the first day of the holiday run streak challenge. It was also the first day I exercised my “one mile” option, and it certainly won’t be the last.

 

Because of travel and a family dinner, I had only a 35 minute window in which to unpack, change, find the hotel gym, run, relay a message to my sister, find my room, shower, change for dinner, and find dinner. It was an exceedingly frantic 35 minutes in which I probably moved the slowest when I was running the actual mile, but I made it in time for a big turkey dinner, sopping wet hair and all.

 

We got to the hotel a little later than expected, and were told that the only turkey dinner was served at 6 pm and no later (this turned out to be false). So I only had an hour to fit in my run before dinner. No problem, right? But I had to wait for my luggage to be delivered (first world problems) since I had no running clothes otherwise. I had finally decided to run after dinner (yuck full stomach, but ok) and just go find my sister (who had arrived earlier) and have a relaxing drink with her – when my luggage showed up. Dilemma! Must decide immediately! Ok, 35 minutes, go go go!

 

I tore through my ineptly packed luggage to gather my running things, scraped my hair into a braid, and hustled down to the gym. I jumped on a treadmill and started running, when immediately my knee hurt and I realized I was stone cold and all summer long had been doing dynamic stretching before running. Oh well, no time for that now! Increase the incline and power through this!

 

Knee warmed up after a bit and I listened to music for the first time in ages, and I started to really enjoy it. This is what I should be doing all the time! Usually when I get to a hotel or get home after a long day of travel I park myself in front of the TV and snack on something. But knowing I only had to do one mile was incredibly freeing, and yet that one mile was also horribly compulsory, which turns out to be the perfect combination to get me off my butt.

 

I would have run longer (ok, maybe only like a half mile longer) but I was short on time so I jumped off, pounded a bottle of water, and went to find my sister to tell her what the dinner plan was. I quickly found her and she already knew about dinner, plus she shamed me into taking a shower (since I was only moderately sweaty from one mile, I was considering just mopping off and changing). But when the crazy hotel toilet splashed me upon flushing, I was ready to boil myself in disinfectant before dinner.

 

I even had time to do my makeup (such as it is) and put on jewelry for our Thanksgiving feast. I ate 5 mini desserts – since I ran today.

 

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving to remember, and that none of you got splashed with any toilet water. But if you did, share in the comments!