Archive for June, 2012

Okay, so, remember how I can’t swim?

Well, on Tuesday while at the gym, flailing about in the pool, I noticed that in the lane next to us appeared to be an adult couple taking a swimming lesson. I was kind of jealous, because 1) I want to be a better swimmer, and 2) their instructor was super nice and patient with them. Husband Saign noticed the lesson as well, and I talked to him about how someday I’d like to take a lesson too, and I wondered how much they cost and how I could request their nice instructor. (I was planning to ask for, “The guy with the anchor tattoo and the pink earring,” though I was a bit afraid I’d sound like a super-creeper).

Then, last night Husband Saign and I were talking about the best time to go to the pool to swim laps. We looked at the pool schedule and saw when the kids swimming lessons took place, so that we could avoid the pool at that time. I thought it would be good to go about 45 minutes after the lessons ended to give families time to clear out of the pool. But as I looked at the schedule, I noticed something else. “Oh no! There’s Masters Swim at 7:00! I wonder what that is? How many lanes does it take up?” And then I realized, “Hey, wait! This says that Masters Swim happened on Tuesday while we were swimming too. I don’t remember them taking up space.”

What does Masters Swim mean?

Then the lightbulb! “Oh! I think that couple in the lane next to us must have been doing Masters Swim! It’s adult swimming lessons!” I got a little excited about this, because it meant that I could probably get a swimming lesson with the nice instructor without being a super-creeper and requesting him.

I asked Husband Saign to call the gym to ask how much Master Swim costs. He called for me, since he’s nice.

And guess what????

It’s free!

I can have free adult swimming lessons with the nice instructor without being a super-creeper! This is amazing!

I’m so excited!!! I’ll be a Master Swimmer/rhythmic breather in no time!!!

Would you be embarrassed to take an adult swim class?


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Muscles are crazy.

According to the sports medicine doctor, my main problem in running is overpronation. (Well, and overtraining which made my overpronation problems particularly bad).

So here’s the deal: When most people walk and run, they strike the ground with their heel and the roll their foot forward. Rolling from heel-to-toe often starts slightly on the outside of the heel, but ideally ends towards the middle of the front-foot (from my understanding). As an overpronator, I’m rolling from the heel to the toe, but rolling my foot too far inwards, causing it too collapse a great deal, and causing stress on my muscles.

Overpronation in pictures
– Source –

So how does what I’m doing in my feet cause stress in my shin muscle? Well, here’s the crazy part. The muscle that’s involved in my problem runs from below the knee, down into the foot. So when my foot is collapsing, it’s pulling on the muscle. And that’s why I’m having pain. (The muscle involved is called the “tibialis posterior.” So now you know).

Here it is. The posterior tibialis.
– source –

Yep, those are the interesting facts about my shin problems. This is also why some people go for minimalist running; by not wearing shoes, they stop heel-striking altogether, therefore preventing injuries such as the one that I’m currently recovering from.

So…at my doctor’s suggestion, I get to wear orthotics. I just think that word is so funny, because it makes me think that I’m a very dorky girl. Like Forrest Gump. I’m sure the Forrest Gump had to wear orthotics.

I’m still really hoping for a quick recovery, but I’m beginning to realize that EVERYTHING seems to exacerbate the problem. The doctor told me no elliptical, no hiking, and no doing anything that makes them hurt. Well, I figured since I’ve been doing the elliptical and hiking that by stopping the problem would be better in no time.

Wrong. Because even the seated exercise bike seems to irritate my shins. And swimming might cause a problem too. I’m not sure. That’s the other problem. I can’t necessarily figure out what activities cause problems since I’m always active. Yesterday my shins hurt badly when I woke up. The night before I had done biking and swimming. So which one is causing the problem? I have no idea. It’s very confusing. Perhaps I should just lie in bed for the next few weeks and never move in order to improve the problem.

This stinks.

But muscles are interesting!!!

Do you already know all about muscles? Do you think I look like Forrest Gump with my orthotics in?

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When I was little, I took swimming lessons. I’m not sure that I was forced, but I do believe that the lessons were highly encouraged by my mother. As far as I remember, I didn’t particularly enjoy them, but I don’t think I minded them much either.

Until I reached the glass ceiling of swimming lessons.

What’s the glass ceiling, you ask?

Rhythmic breathing. You know, putting your face in the water, and taking it out to breathe every once in awhile? That?

Yep. Couldn’t do it. It was the glass ceiling of my swimming career.

I remember sitting on the side of the pool next to my swimming instructor catching my breath after my failed attempts to rhythmic breathe.

I failed the same swimming class twice (due to my inability to rhythmic breathe) before my mother finally let me quit lessons. I guess she realized that I just wasn’t moving on up in the swimming world.

This swimming glass ceiling hasn’t bothered me much in my adult life. While in Minnesota I still managed to waterski, and while in Southern California I still managed to surf. So though I’m not a strong swimmer, I was comfortable enough in the water to survive watersports when living in places where watersports are important.

Who knew that my lack of swimming skills would become particularly problematic in Washington State…the only place I’ve ever lived where watersports are not a somewhat large part of the culture? Weird.

Because of my shin injury, I’m trying to swim laps. (Since it’s exercise that doesn’t hurt my shins). Perfect. Well, you know, except for the fact that I can’t breathe when I swim, and I can’t live if I don’t breathe. It’s somewhat of a cyclical problem.

Our first day at the gym, equipped with goggles and a willing attitude, I asked Husband Saign to teach me.

He got me so that I could go underwater without using my hand to plug my nose, which is a noticeable improvement.

And, I can swim about 1/3 of the (1/2 Olympic size) pool doing the breaststroke before I must stop to catch up on my breathing. Impressed yet?

Thankfully there’s a section of the pool blocked off for slow people who might stop-and-start, so I don’t have to swim legitimate laps. I just have to make sure that I never go to the pool during water aerobics, since then the slow-and-erratic lane will be in use and I’ll have to share the lanes with the big boys!

Here’s looking at you, Michael Phelps. Soon enough I might be able to swim a whole lap without stopping!

Do you swim? How do you choose how many laps to do and what stroke to do for your workout? Any swimming tips for me?

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Given my new instructions to not use the elliptical, Husband Saign and I had to take the plunge and get a legit gym membership at a gym with a pool.

It’s very exciting! Here are my new treats I had to get:


Yep. Just when you thought maybe I wasn’t that ridiculous, I take a photo like this, and you have to acknowledge…I am pretty much completely ridiculous.
Also, this is my 2nd pair of goggles. The first pair I wore to the gym one day and promptly lost them.

Sadly, because of my shins, there’s a ton of stuff I can’t do at the gym.

Here’s a list of what I can do:

  1. swim
  2. yoga
  3. bike
  4. upper body/core strength/lifting

Yep. A sad list of 4 things.

Here’s a list of the things I’m looking forward to doing when I get better:

  1. RUN! (Most important!)
  2. zumba
  3. rock climbing
  4. kickboxing
  5. spinning (I should be able to do this now, but so far it’s exacerbated my shin pain)
  6. lower body strength/lifting (My shins hurt so badly from doing legs this weekend that I realized I shouldn’t be lifting with my legs)

I’m so excited! I hate paying for a gym membership, but I really enjoy having a gym membership!

What’s your favorite thing to do at the gym? Any ideas of things I can do that don’t have the potential to hurt my shins?

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On Saturday the plan was that I was going to spectate for the first time ever at a race! The race of choice: Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle.

But things unexpectedly changed. What was supposed to be a “viewing party,” at the Nuun headquarters (with some tables of Nuun set up for runners who may want it) became a super crazy hydration effort of excellence and chaos…to say the least.

We had a few tables set up with cups of Nuun at mile 2 along the route, figuring that maybe some people would want to stop…no biggy. Um. Except TONS of people stopped. They even waited in line because, well, we weren’t quite prepared for all that, so we were filling cups and handing them off immediately and feeling bad that we couldn’t fill them faster. We were trying to be speedy and we got covered in Nuun. Every time we thought it might be near the end of the crowd, we’d look up…and see huge masses of people still on the way. It was chaos! But fun chaos.

This is what it was like at the very END. I didn’t get a good picture of the chaos because, well, I was too busy crazily filling cups of Nuun.

I had hoped to see some of my NUUNKOTB teammates, but since I was filling cups and trying to keep up with the crazy demand for Nuun, I only saw Lauren. She looked great! Way to go on your 9th half-marathon, Lauren! I also looked up from my cup-filling long enough to see Nicole, and she was her energetic happy self! Way to go on a sub-4 marathon, Nicole!

Four of my NUUNKOTB teammates ran yesterday who I didn’t see at the race: Alanna, Holly, Stacie, and Dawn. BUT I did get to meet Alanna, Stacie, and Dawn at dinner on Friday night, which was exciting! (And they were nice to me too!). Tasha was also in Seattle cheering the ladies on, but I didn’t get to see her either. Hopefully she was able to see more of the ladies running than I was!

As the last few runners passed the Nuun headquarters, I realized: We may be to the end of the runners, but we have a bit of cleaning up to do:

We had created a bit of a cup problem in the streets of Seattle.

Crazy, huh?

I asked Caitlin, a Nuun employee, if there was a broom to sweep the cups with, when two huge Penske trucks pulled up. And guess what jumped out? Tons of guys with rakes! They cleaned up all the cups in a matter of minutes, while we stared at them in shock. It was a marathon miracle!

The amazing helper guys who magically appeared from a Penske truck!

Since we were at mile 2, the race was still going on, so I decided to go do some spectating.

I felt bad that the runners couldn’t see the beauty behind them. One elderly couple chose to run backwards for awhile so that they could see the skyline! It was so cute!

Most of the people I knew running the half were finished by this time, but I was hopeful that I would see Nicole from Ricole Runs, since she was running the full marathon. Unfortunately, before I saw her, my husband called; he was downtown and ready to pick me up. I was walking to find him when I saw Nicole. Guys, she was moving well and looked strong, except her face. (Remember how at mile 2 she was happy and energetic? Not anymore). Her face made it clear that she was miserable. It honestly kind of terrified me seeing her agony, and I questioned my ability to finish a marathon in a few months. I shouted for her, but she didn’t hear me. She was running with someone who was coaching her through. The coach was reassuring her of something; I’m sure telling her how close she was and that she would make it. What a nice coach!

I didn’t have my camera ready when I saw Nicole, so I only managed to snap this picture of Nicole and her coach:

What a good friend I was to snap this picture for them!
(I actually had really hoped to have been able to get a photo of her with the skyline from above, but the timing was off…)

I later learned that the coach was Robyn of Run Birdie Run. What a great friend! I’m sad that I didn’t get to meet her!

Were you racing or spectating this weekend? How’d it go? Is finishing 26.2 miles pure agony???

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I just got home from the sports medicine doctor, and I’m still trying to process what he told me.

When you go to the sports medicine doctor in your work clothes, they give you special stretchy shorts to wear.

The good:

  • He doesn’t think I have a stress fracture. Due to my low amounts of pain, he said he’d be pretty surprised if it was a stress fracture, but if the pain doesn’t improve in 3-4 weeks, he’ll order an MRI
  • He seemed like a good doctor. He was nice, didn’t seem rushed, and really listened to me. He explained to me all about my muscle that was hurting and why.
  • He said I can bike! (Okay, that’s sarcasm).

The bad:

  • He said to keep resting…for a “few” weeks…and then he said a scarier thing “four” weeks. Um, Ragnar is in four weeks.
  • He said no elliptical until I go a “few” days with no pain. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really hate the elliptical, it’s super boring. But it’s better than nothing.
  • I forgot to use my list (which is really not a surprise), so other than resting and orthotics, he didn’t give me much advice. I think this is probably because resting is so super important, but I am kicking myself that I forgot to ask him ANY of my questions.
  • He said that when I do run again, I need to start “gradual.” What the heck does that mean? I hate gradual.

In conclusion: Diagnosis dumb girl. Really. According to him, I got this by being dumb (no, he didn’t say that, but really, it’s true). I injured myself by pretending I am a better runner than I am and ignoring my body. Dumb girl.

People. Don’t be like me.

This is how I feel about the news.

I have very mixed feelings about all of this. I’m not sure how to feel. I’m glad it’s (most likely) not a stress fracture. But I’m sad that his rules are really close to encroaching on Ragnar. I kind of thought he might say, “It’s not a stress fracture, so go ahead and run!”

He did not say that.

Tell me a story of something dumb you did, so that I’ll feel better about my dumb thing. Ready? Go!

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Tomorrow is the big day! The day when I will finally see the sports medicine doctor! I’m really hopeful that he’ll be able to help me. I want to make sure that I give him all accurate information, so I’m making him a list and checking it twice. Thankfully this blog has helped me keep track…even though I’ve been really bad about posting my workouts!

So here’s my journey:

April 5 – R shin started hurting – I mostly ignored it and kept running. Eventually the L shin started hurting too

April 23 – decided to not run for 1 week

April 26 – Ripping feeling in R shin during high impact workout

April 27 – Xray

May 6-16th – Ran slowly 3x/week-ish

May 16 – Last run; decided to not run until I had 2 pain-free days

As of today, I haven’t run for 5 weeks! My shins have slowly felt better and better, but I still have pain a few times everyday. I’m not sure what to make of it. The pain is so minor, but I’m scared that if I run, I’ll make things worse.

This is a rose from my yard. It has nothing to do with this post, but since I believe that every post needs a photo, this is it.

I’ve been having bad luck with doctors these days, so I want to go prepared with questions. Here’s what I’ve got:

  1. What’s my diagnosis? (Are we SURE it’s not a stress fracture?)
  2. How do I know when I can run again?
  3. What are some recommended cardio activities that I can do while I heal?
  4. When I do start running again, how should I build up my mileage?
  5. How do I know when I shouldn’t run anymore (pain-wise)?
  6. What can I do to prevent the pain?

That’s all I’ve got for now. My biggest fear is that he’ll tell me that I can’t run Ragnar. I would bawl my eyes out if he said that. My second biggest fear is that he won’t be helpful at all.

So, we wait. I’ll report back after I know more!

Is there anything else that I should ask the doctor? Do you ever bring lists to the doctor to make sure that you cover everything?

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