Stopped by Runner’s Knee

Posted on March 13, 2008. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself | Tags: , , , , , |

Today is about Running and Taking Care of Yourself

I mentioned before that I signed up to run the More half marathon as a way to keep me motivated to run through the winter. Well after several Sundays of long runs, early mornings on the treadmill, and lots of time devoted to training, my body just quit.

After a Sunday run two weeks ago my knee started to hurt. It went away with ice and rest. Then during the week, I did my usual shorter runs, but noticed that my knee hurt when I walked down the stairs. By the following Sunday, I couldn’t run because of my knee pain, and found that it was swollen. Over the next few days, I found I couldn’t walk. At first I hoped that the pain would go away with ice and Motrin, and I could still walk the race. However, my knee still hurts me everyday, even though I am not running. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt until the afternoon, other days it doesn’t hurt until the evening. What is clear is that basic daily walking is about all my poor knee can take. And 13 miles is not a basic daily walk.

I have runner’s knee, which is a common overuse injury from so much running. Part of the cause is weakness in my thigh muscles. So I will need to be serious about weight lifting, lunges and squats if I want to do this again. But for right now, all I can do is ice my leg and wait until it stops hurting.

I am bummed. All of that training and I cannot run the race! Maybe I can walk it if I continue to rest. Otherwise, all I got for this effort was a tee shirt, and I don’t feel like I can wear it since I won’t run the race.

Well, at least I can go watch the race, and cheer on my running partner.

This stinks!


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Motivation to Run in the Winter

Posted on January 22, 2008. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself |

Tuesday is about Taking Care of Yourself

Photo by Powi winter.jpg

I can now call myself a runner. I started by walking three years ago. Then I began to run for one minute at a time, then three minutes, and then five minutes. I kept going until I built up my stamina and clearly remember the first time I ran for 30 minutes without stopping. So now I am a runner.

Although I enjoy the benefits that come with running—like feeling less stress, it’s easier to lose weight, enjoying time alone–I do find that it is harder to run consistently in the winter. The cold outside, and the fact that it is still dark when I get up to run, both make me want to roll over and stay in bed when the alarm goes off.

Then after Christmas I got on the scale, and saw how much damage I had done with all of the eating and drinking over the holidays. I needed to recommit myself to my running. So I called a friend (who had also just gotten on the scale) and we agreed to run together and keep each other motivated. However, in our enthusiasm, one thing led to another and we talked ourselves into registering for the More Half Marathon in April.

A Half MARATHON? Thirteen miles? The longest I’ve ever run was six miles.

The following day, I jumped out of bed when they alarm went off and went out for a run without thinking about the cold. I have discovered that fear is a great motivator. I am afraid of not being able to finish the race, afraid of coming in last, afraid of embarrassing myself in front of the crowds, and afraid of the pain I may experience on race day. All of this fear motivates me to run and train for this race. When it is cold, when it is dark, when I am on the treadmill and feeling bored, I keep going. Not because I am committed, but because I am afraid. Afraid of performing horribly at this race.

After we signed up for the race, we went out for a long run on the first weekend and did six miles. Last weekend, I ran nine miles, and I am getting in early morning runs before I go to work during the week. I think I will be glad I did this. I am already glad that it has motivated me to stick with my running this winter. However, next winter I will be looking for motivation to keep me running that does not involve fear.


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Time to Run

Posted on January 1, 2008. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Photo by fdecomitetime.jpg
I love running on the weekends because I can sleep in, wait until the sun comes up, have a little breakfast, wake up, wait until it gets warmer outside, and can run without worrying about how long it will take because I don’t have to get ready for work. Since today was a day off from work, I approached it like it was a weekend run. That means it was my long slow run. Since I have been slacking off on the running for the past few weeks, I was concerned about how I would do with a long run. Also, it’s been cold outside and I have been on a treadmill, but today was warmer (47 degrees) so I ran outside. I wondered how my legs would feel on hard pavement after being on a treadmill for a few weeks. My goal was to do a 45 minute run. I took it really easy and ended up doing 4.85 miles in 55 minutes—that’s REALLY slow, over 11 minutes per mile. But I felt great, ran longer than I planned and felt like I could have gone even further.

As I have slacked off in the past few weeks, I found that whenever I went back to running I felt really great. So I guess the rest has been good. When I started running, I was trying to get out there at least five days per week and experienced a lot of injuries. Then I read an article in Runner’s World about the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) and their training program which includes only three days per week of running. Basically, they recommend three days of running, but that each run be hard—a tempo run, intervals, and a long run. They also recommend doing non-weight bearing aerobic exercise such as swimming or cycling on other days, and include at least one day of rest each week. When I have really stuck with the program my schedule has been:


Tuesday-Intervals (a 3mile run with 4-5 1 minute intervals at top speed)

Wednesday-30 minutes of cycling and weight lifting

Thursday –Tempo Run (3 mile run with middle third run at a faster pace)


Saturday-Total Body Fitness Class with Weight Training

Sunday-Long, Slow Run (between 4-6 miles)

As I said, this is when I really stuck with the program. Most weeks I could not because of work, travel, kids’ events, just life. However, I found that this schedule worked best for me because it was more forgiving of my real life and allowed me to not do everything, but to still see improvements with my running if I could just get out there three times per week. Plus the schedule required only two days during the work week, if I needed to cut back (and cut out my cycling session) Over time, I saw my running speed pick up. I am still a slow runner, but when I was on the treadmill last winter, my regular pace was 13:30 min/mi and I sometimes pushed it to 12 min/mi. I followed the FIRST regimen over the summer, and find that my regular comfortable pace is now 10:50 min/mi, and I can comfortably maintain a 10 min/mi pace.

So all of this is to say, that I am really pleased with the program. The main thing is the schedule is less strict, and provides adequate time to run within my life schedule. It is also great to see improvements in my performance, even with this little bit of effort. I probably could improve more, if I stuck to the recommended schedule more closely. But my goal is really to just get out there and see some improvements. I am also happy to say that I have not had any injuries since starting the program, and generally am less sore and achy than when I was running five days per week.

I think it is the ideal running program for a busy working mom.


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Christmas Day Workout

Posted on December 25, 2007. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself |

Christmas Shoes

Photo by orangeacid

Now that Christmas day is over, I am facing an entire week without having to go to work. As a result, I have the time to focus on myself and am planning to get back into the groove of working out and running.

Last week, I talked about not running during this time of year because I was too busy, and decided to take some time off. After ten days of not running, I had a chance to run this past weekend and it was GREAT. I felt rested and better able to face my run—both mentally and physically. It was a treadmill run, which I usually find boring and hard to finish. However, since I was coming back from a break, I was able to do a 45 minute run without a problem. I’ve read from sources like that it’s good to take a break from running if things are getting stale. I think they are right and I’m glad I gave myself some time away. A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me if I was interested in running the More Half Marathon in April. Now that I’ve taken a break, I may be up to it and will blog about my progress if I decide to enter and train.


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Giving Me a Break

Posted on December 18, 2007. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself |

Photo by Bob Jagendorf


I haven’t gone running in nearly a week. There has been nothing worse for my diet and exercise routine than the holiday season. Parties and treats entice me to over eat, while errands, extra activities and late nights make me tired and not willing to get out of bed in the morning to exercise.

I approach every Monday as the beginning of a new week and recommit myself to my fitness routine. I weigh myself and make plans for exercise and diet for the upcoming week. Lately, I’ve been happy when I weighed in and simply did not gain weight. I have no expectation that I would lose weight, given all the Christmas cookies I’ve been eating.

I was beginning to beat myself up for not sticking to my weight loss plans. However, I needed to walk 1 1/2 miles on the way home from work today (Christmas shopping) and really enjoyed it! This reminded me that when it is hard to wake up early to go run, I can always walk from the train to my office, which is 1 1/2 miles. If I walk in both directions, then I’ll get in three miles in total. While it is not as challenging as running three miles in the morning, it does give me some exercise so I don’t stray too much from my routine. I also get to stroll through the streets of New York City during the holiday season along with the tourists.

So I decided to get in lots of walking in the next few days, and to give myself a break from running, as well as a break from chastising myself. I have a lot to finish both at home and at work before Christmas and need to take some things off my “to do” list. It will be running for the next few days. Then during the Christmas break, I can get rested and can get back to my running routine (diet may have to wait until after the New Year).


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Freedom to Run

Posted on December 11, 2007. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself |

The biggest barrier I needed to overcome to start running was not the early mornings, the sore muscles, or the discomfort of being out of breath. It was the jiggle. I remember the sheer joy of running as a child. Feeling free and like I was flying. Then came puberty……..and breasts. Not just any breasts, but big breasts. And that was the end of running with freedom.

Fast forward 30 years when I decided that I wanted to take up running to relieve stress and get in shape. I knew I needed good shoes and some running clothes, but had no idea what kind of bra I would get. As an adult, I always needed to grab my breasts and hold on to them whenever I ran (how’s that for an image?). One of my daughters once asked me why I didn’t run. So I walked up the street turned around and said “watch”. Then I ran towards her (without holding my breasts) and all she could say was “WHOA!”

Running had always been painful because of my breasts, even with “sports” bras. I read that the first sports bra was invented by a woman who sewed together two jock straps. Looking at the support they offer (NOT), I figure she could not have been bigger than a B cup. No, a regular sports bra would never meet my needs or provide enough support.

Then one day a well endowed friend (let’s call her Angel) told me that she had good luck with the Enell bra. I went to my local running store and found they had it for $50–50 DOLLARS for a bra that is NOT Victoria Secrets. However, when I strapped myself into it, I felt like a cross between a Valkyrie and Wonder Woman. Then I jumped up and down. And hopped. And ran in place. No bounce!

The bra is great and really works for “bigger” women. I went out the next day wearing my new bra, and finally had the chance to run again, with no jiggle, bounce or pain. So now I am pleased to say that I have the freedom to run without pain, and without holding my breasts with my hands.


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Treadmill Running

Posted on December 4, 2007. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself |


Photo by maHidoodi

The cold weather has arrived, which means I am headed indoors for my runs—on the dreaded treadmill. How boring!!

I really dislike the cold, but I can stand running outside until the temperature drops to 32 degrees. However, a couple of days ago, it went as low as 17 degrees. NO WAY am I going outside to run in that!

As I drive to the gym, I try to remind myself of the advantages of running on the treadmill:

  • I avoid running in bad weather.
  • I don’t have to wear layers of clothing.
  • I can keep a steady pace throughout my entire run-this really helps with tempo runs.
  • I can avoid injuries because the treadmill surface is much more forgiving than the road.
  • I don’t have to worry about barking dogs, or stepping over road-kill, or teenage drivers bothering me at the gym.

Here are the ways I keep focused and pass the time while I am running:

  • I listen to my iPod and run for eight songs (if I average five minutes per song, then that is a 40 minute run).
  • I break my time up into smaller three minute segments after my warm up, then I make small changes to the speed and incline every three minutes to make it harder or easier, depending on how I feel.
  • I count the number of breathes I take in a minute, then calculate how many breathes I will take in five minutes. Then I count those breathes to see if I can predict when five minutes have passed.
  • I look out of the window and wish I was outside.
  • I think about my day ahead, or think about a problem I am trying to figure out.
  • I daydream.

Treadmill running. It’s not as interesting as going outside, but it’s definitely better than running in the cold.


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    Musings on how a disorganized woman with a full time job, three kids and a real need to relax is trying to make life simple.

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