Tag Archives: Not Running

Couch to 5K – Finally “Running” Again

April showers bring April flowers.

11 months after breaking my ankle, I’ve finally started running again (for real this time, I hope, knock wood!).  The best part has been seeing all the beautiful spring flowers!

Last week I started the Couch to 5K program (using the free app).  The first week has you walk for 5 minutes, then run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for eight repetitions, followed by another 5 minutes of walking.  The entire workout is only 30 minutes, which I appreciated more than I’d like to admit.  The timer (a bell plus a woman’s voice telling you to “start running” or “begin walking“) keeps me honest as I ease back into this whole running thing again after so long.  I’m basically starting over as a runner, only this time I’m 13 years older and have a deep-seated fear of breaking my ankle again.  On the plus side I know which flavors of Gu I like and I have all sorts of gear.  I feel like such a poser heading out in my bright tights and fancy shoes and running belt for my 60 seconds of jogging!  Maybe bringing all the snacks is overkill?  Nah…

 

I’m doing the second week now, which has bumped me up to a full 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking (but only six repetitions of each, so it’s still only 20 minutes long).  The saddest thing is that I really feel those additional 30 seconds of running.  If you saw me out there with my slow trot and constant starting and stopping, you’d be more likely to suggest I take up knitting than try running the NYC Marathon in 27 weeks.

Even this squirrel is skeptical.

I hope there are no more 11-month tapers in my future, and that running nonstop for 30 minutes doesn’t ever seem like an insurmountable goal again, because all this not running has really put a damper on my fun-times candy-consumption.  My Garmin also seems to have given up the ghost during this long time off.  Time to buy a new watch?

 

Do you have any GPS & heart rate watch recommendations?  Have you ever taken a year off from running?  Did you score any good deals on Easter candy?  Share in the comments!

Gift Guide for Runners Who Can’t – 2016

Get well soon bitmoji

Holiday gift guides for runners are as ubiquitous as Christmas Carols after Thanksgiving… and generally about as unique.  Heck, even my guide from 2013 is pretty standard (cough boring cough cough).  In 2014 I focused on cheaper “dupes,” and in 2015 I tried to highlight more unusual offerings, but generally it’s always been a gift guide for active runners, or for people who at least pretend they’re going to run sometime.  Soon.  Maybe after New Year’s.

 

But what about all those bajillions of runners who get injured and can’t run?  I know you’re out there, and I know you still like junk, so this year, 2016 (The Worst Year EverTM), I’m offering a gift guide for the runner who can’t.  (Specifically for the runner who can’t run, but maybe also who just can’t in general.)

 

fracture cast boot shoe coverA Darco Shoe ($9.50 to $20).  Or an Aircast Boot ($65 to $75).  Or a cover to keep the germies off their floor (tall ($29) or short ($10)). Your (severely) injured runner probably already has at least one of these items prescribed to them by a doctor, but they might want an extra to wear inside, or at the very least they’ll want a foot cover thing to wear inside so they don’t track all the grossness from the outside world into their private cocoon fortress of rehabilitation (aka their tiny apartment).  An extra canister of Lysol wipes might also be appreciated.

 

 

hbo-netflix-hulu-amazonA subscription to Netflix, or HBO NOW, Amazon, or Hulu (Varies, generally about $8 to $15/month).  Because right now TV is their best friend, after you for getting them more TV.

 

 

 

Calm meditation backgroundA subscription to meditation apps like Headspace ($95/year with chocolate) or Calm ($60/year).  They might need this even more than the TV.  For what it’s worth, I’ve only tried the free trial of both apps and prefer the woman’s voice in Calm infinitely more than the man’s voice on Headspace, but online reviews say Headspace offers more comprehensive guided meditations (and comes with chocolate).  So, I’d say try the free versions and see which you (or they) prefer, or maybe they’re hardcore and can stick to a meditation program without hand-holding apps.

 

 

couch tableA couch table ($20) or remote control holder ($13).  If your injured runner is literally stuck on the couch all day, they will create a little nest of items they need within reach.  Help them feather this weird little nest of snacks and tissues and magazines and lip balm with this sad table and/or couch pouch.  What’s even sadder?  Those cookies don’t come with that table.

 

 

 

cashmere-travel-wrap-in-greyAn expensive cashmere travel wrap from White & Warren ($209 to $350).  A runner definitely couldn’t or shouldn’t run in this, but it would go great with their couch and some ice cream.  (It’s also great for flights to all their future races when they’re better, or to wrap up in when they need a cozy nap after long runs.  It’s also unisex!  And it comes in many, many colors!  Have I convinced you yet that this scarf/blanket is worth $300?  No?  Well then, fleece blankets are on sale at Old Navy for $5, normally a whopping $10.)

 

 

 

adidas superstars

Adidas Superstars ($80) or other fashion sneakers (varies).  Runners have soooo many pairs of running shoes.  The interwebs and the KardashianHadids tell me sneakers have become fashionable, but only the cute impractical sneakers, not Frankensteinen Hoka One Ones.  I always feel a little guilty buying sneakers I can’t run in, since I already own so many sneakers and it’s a waste if they’re not functional, right?  But if your runner can’t run, it doesn’t matter! Get them some fun fashion sneakers that are not appropriate for running and they can finally enjoy them guilt and run-free.

 

 

betsey johnson pom pom glovesBetsey Johnson Pom Pom Gloves. (At Macy’s, regularly $32, on sale for $22.40, with code “FRIEND” only $15.68!) These aren’t running gloves, and look like they’d be quite impractical for running or even life in general if you ever want to put your hands in your pockets or keep your fingertips warm, but damn do they appeal to the 14-year-old girl in me.  The male equivalent would be… what?  I’m not sure, but probably these.

 

 

vrai-oro-trillian-diamond-necklaceDainty gold jewelry from Stone & Strand or Vrai & Oro (Varies, $50 to $$$).  I mean, one could run in it, but it looks better while not running so people can admire it for longer.

 

 

 

secure double walled electric kettleTea and Sympathy (Free, almost).  While I didn’t love talking about my injury, I did appreciate it when friends would check in, and I appreciated it even more when they’d stop by my prison cell apartment or made plans to see me that I could handle (e.g. at a nearby bar or restaurant, or planned an activity where I didn’t have to walk – like sitting on a park bench listening to a podcast together, or going to a movie theater with full reclining seats).  Even just encouraging your injured runner to crutch around the block if they’ve been inside all day will help them shake off the funk of watching TV nonstop and worrying they’ll never run again.  I have to say that those outings were the best presents I received this year, even if they weren’t intended as presents.  If you literally want tea and are in the market for a water boiler (aka “kettle”), I really like this one from Amazon.  It’s lined in stainless steel (thus avoiding any plastic taste or fear of shattered glass), boils quickly, and is only $32.  You deserve the upgrade for being such a good friend.

 

What do I want for Christmas 2016?  A non-broken ankle, a non-ruined body, and the last 8 months of my life back.  Not possible?  Then I guess chocolate.  Or that cute guy from PT.

 

What do you buy yourself when you’re injured?  What’s the best present you gave or received this year?  What do you want for Christmas?  Share in the comments!

Broken Ankle Update & So Many Cancellations

I'm Breakable Kimmy Schmidt. :(

I’m Breakable Kimmy Schmidt. 🙁

Since my last ankle hell update wherein I learned from my MRI that I’ve had a broken fibula for the past 6 months, I spoke with my new orthopedic doctor and visited a new physical therapist at Columbia.  I’m not 100% thrilled with the advice of either one and I have more questions that I’ll try to get answered next week.  In a nutshell, I’m broken and not healing and life sucks.

 

The doctor said I didn’t have to wear a boot or use crutches, despite my leg still being broken after 6 months.  She said I only had to wear that little Darco shoe that didn’t protect my ankle at all.  That seemed wrong to me, and since I continued to have pain, I put myself back in the boot and on crutches to take the weight off and give the bone time to heal.  Going back on crutches has been maddening, yes, but honestly the last 6 months have been such a nightmare, what’s another 6 weeks of hell?  She did prescribe physical therapy that included ultrasound stimulation, and said I could bear weight as tolerated.

 

I got a second opinion from my new physical therapist and he agreed with me that I should stay in the boot and on crutches for now.  He said this weekend I could start using a single crutch to give the bone a little bit of weight to promote bone formation, as it’ll have been 2 weeks since I took the weight off by putting myself on my boot/crutch regimen.  He also pointed out my fracture on my X-rays – YES, that’s right, the doctor (from the Hospital of Special Surgery, no less!) should have known immediately from the X-rays that my ankle was broken.  It’s truly astonishing the incompetency I’ve encountered in this debacle.

 

However, he disagreed with the ultrasound stimulation prescription, claiming it’s contra-indicated for fractures.  This led me down a google-hole of research on ultrasound & electrical stimulation for nonunion or delayed union fractures (aka any fracture that hasn’t healed in over 6 months, like mine).  It appears that contrary to being a contra-indication, ultrasound stimulation (or, even more so, electrical stimulation) is a well-established therapy for nonunion fractures.  Unfortunately it’s not a magic cure-all, and it seems like many nonunion fractures do end up needing surgery.  However, since surgery comes with all sorts of other risks and pain, I’m planning on trying every possible non-surgical therapy I can and using surgery only as a last resort.  Also, since the prospect of ankle surgery truly freaks me out (and not in a fun Halloween way), I’m trying not to dwell on it as much as possible.  Surgery!

 

Overall, I’m still totally dissatisfied by the incompetent medical care I’ve been receiving, from the initial orthopedist to the doctors at Hospital for Special Surgery to my various physical therapists.  No one has caught on to anything, and it’s forcing me to be my own doctor, which is outrageous and frustrating and ridiculous and maddening.  Sadly, I am learning an important lesson – don’t trust doctors with your well-being, let alone your life.  I dread the day when I’m sick and even more mentally incapacitated than I am now, because I won’t be able to spend hours on google reading articles and trying to diagnose and fix myself, and my illness will probably be more severe, and I will be royally screwed.  Ah, what fun things to look forward to in the future!

 

In other running news, I won’t be doing the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff tomorrow, of course.  But I picked up the shirt anyway, with faraway dreams of wearing it with an unbroken leg in the future.  I’m also not going to be able to do the NYRR Dash to the Finish, which makes 5 NYRR races and 5 marathons I will have missed due to this injury.  Oh, and for anyone keeping track, that means I’ll be 2 races short of qualifying for the NYC Marathon in 2017.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Again, I’m less upset about that than the waste of time and money, and the fear/constant dread that I’ll never run again.

Front and back of the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff shirt - it's a 50/50 cotton poly short sleeve unisex cut. Meh.

Front and back of the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff shirt – it’s a 50/50 cotton poly short-sleeve unisex cut. Meh.

I also cancelled my NYC Marathon volunteer shift because even if I worked comms/dispatch instead of in the ambulance, I’d still have to be in a tent in Central Park, which would be a challenge to get to.  Plus I’d still be in the boot, so I’d be a minor liability during a mass casualty event – not a good thing.  I’m really disappointed about the marathon volunteering, because last year was truly such a high point for me (before I mistrusted everyone with a medical degree, sigh…), and it’ll be another full year before I’ll have that kind of opportunity again — an opportunity of which there are only a handful more of in my future.

 

I’ve also officially cancelled my backpacking trip to Patagonia this December.  It was a tough (and expensive) decision but ultimately it’s a huge relief.  Even if my bone was completely healed by then (which is actually unlikely), it still would have been too much for my atrophied legs to hike up to 8 hours every day with a fully loaded pack.  I’ve lost a literal inch of muscle from my calf compared to my normal leg – a full inch!  🙁  I can only imagine how many years of my life I’m losing by being so sedentary.  That plus the incompetency of the medical profession and it’s a wonder I’m still alive.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

How many races have you missed in your running career?  How much do you distrust doctors?  What are you going as for Halloween?  Share in the comments!

Lame Update (Pun Intended)

Injury detritus.

Injury detritus.

This last month has seen me go from the high of graduating PT to the low of realizing just how bad my injury still is.

 

The weekend after my last post I went to a wedding in Toronto and danced a bit too much.  My favorite thing ever (that’s not food related) is dancing at a wedding.  Almost immediately after leaving the dance floor my ankle swelled up so I hurried back to my hotel room to ice it.  Will there ever come a day when getting a bucketful of ice at a hotel means I’m about to drink something?

 

The week after that I spent a lot of time on my feet baking cookies for a wedding shower (unrelated to above), and once again my ankle was regularly swollen and hurting as much as it was months ago.  The week after that it wasn’t much better, so I continued to ice it and rest it.  That means I haven’t run even a few steps since my trial over a month ago.  If you think my self-image has bounced back from this yet, it hasn’t.

A few of the cookies that escaped my gaping maw.

A few of the cookies that escaped my gaping maw.

This week, almost 19 weeks after the initial injury, my ankle feels… not great.  There are many more moments of the day when it hurts than it did a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not going to PT anymore, or if I’ve been too lax with the at-home exercises, or because something is seriously f’ed up in my ankle, so I’ve scheduled another appointment with an orthopedic doctor for next week so I can get it re-evaluated.  I just don’t think this kind of pain and disability after 4 months is normal for even a badly sprained ankle.  If it is, I’m going to need some Zoloft with my ankle therapy.

 

Till then, I’m still planning on walking the Bronx 5K this weekend, because I’m still (foolishly?) trying to qualify for the NYC Marathon by doing the 9+1.  A part of me wonders why I’m trying to qualify for something that honestly seems impossible right now.  I’m missing the Clarence Demar Marathon in New Hampshire this weekend, and will miss the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut in a couple weeks (because their time cutoff is a strict 6 hours, and even if I could cover 26 miles, I couldn’t keep up that 13:44 minute/mile pace).  I doubt I’ll try to make my first marathon post-injury the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, only because it would be a week before my bucket list trip to Patagonia and I don’t want to risk hurting myself before such an expensive and long-planned trip.  With the other marathons I’ve already missed this summer, that will make 5 marathons in 5 states that I won’t be able to do this year.  (And you runners know that’s about $500 worth of registration fees I’ll never see again, either.)  When I realized all that last week, it hit me really hard.  I know it’s just life, I know unexpected bad things happen, but goddamn it sucks.

 

On the plus side, I’m still doing the occasional spin class and even did a couple of rowing classes, which were great but they took a lot out of me.  Is that because of my ankle or because I’m so out of shape?  Yes.

 

Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?  Are you enjoying the last gasp of summer?  Are you finding yourself adrift since Bachelor in Paradise concluded?  Share in the comments!

I’m still here!

We're still toeing the line between winter and spring here in the Northeast.

It’s been so long since my last post, I don’t even know what season it is.

It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve written a post, and there are a couple of reasons for that:

  1. The weather sucked.  For months, it sucked.  It’s finally beautiful outside, so this is no longer a viable reason to not post.
  2. I haven’t been running much.  I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we had a really sucky winter in NYC.  I was going to post about how crummy it was to run in the cold and the snow, and how the ice on the sidewalks and streets was even preventing me from running, but then I kinda just didn’t run and then didn’t post about it and time passed and snow melted and I still didn’t run much.
  3. I’ve been lazy.  Not just on the running, which is a constant struggle, but on my writing, too.  No excuse for that, other than it’s a lot easier to write blog posts in my head and then not actually write them.  But I have been thinking about it!  Does that count?  [No.  No, it does not count.]
  4. I’ve been traveling, but not specifically for running.  In February I spent a week in Portland with my mom (where I ran twice!), then spent spring break with my family in the Caribbean (where I ran twice!), then spent 5 days snow camping at Crater Lake (where I awkwardly snowshoed more than twice!).  I should have posted something about all those trips, but I didn’t, and time passed, and here we are at Easter.
  5. The more time passed, the harder it was to post anything.  Not only did it become a habit not to post, but it also put increasing pressure on the next post I had to write.  As you see, I’ve attempted to reduce that pressure by writing this stupid, crappy post.  This is a strategy I often use to get my butt out the door for a run, especially if it’s a “long” run – I have to dial it back and promise myself fewer miles and/or more walk breaks, otherwise I end up procrastinating so long the day is over.  So instead of finishing an overdue gear review or one of the many candy review posts I have piling up, I’m posting about not posting.  Problem solved!

All this to say, I’m still here and I’ve been thinking about you, especially when I’m running or not running.  I’ll try not to let two solid months go by without a post again!

 

What are some of your Easter traditions?  What did you think of The Walking Dead season finale?  What’s your favorite Easter candy?  Share in the comments!