Category Archives: Injuries

Getting Fixed?

In lieu of any suspense-filled build up, I’m just going to get straight to this point.

This happened yesterday:

Now, I know what you are probably thinking…because I was/am still thinking the same thing.

“Um Robyn, haven’t you, like, not run at all since the Tacoma Marathon and been complaining incessantly about your injured IT band?”

Yes and yes. Let’s back track a bit though, and perhaps this will make more sense.

I had come to terms with the whole “injury” thing, and I’d accepted that I needed to focus on r&r as opposed to long runs and fartleks. Kidding, I never do fartleks.

However, despite the fact that I was getting over my boohoo, “woe is me” phase of being injured, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t still on the lookout for anything that could help me start running again.

Which brings me to Friday afternuun. I was in need of some Nuun and went to West Seattle Runner to pick up some new bottles. Also, strawberry lemonade *might* be a new favorite.

While there, I happened to see this little gizmo hanging on the wall with all the other braces and such:

Now, if you’re sitting there with one eyebrow raised full of skepticism, trust me—I was right there with you. I asked the guy working what was up with this thing, and he didn’t say much about it other than, “A guy bought one for his knee pain and he never came back, so that’s good?”

Right. I was mainly skeptical because a) this was perhaps the least technical thing I’d ever seen, and b) in the nonstop research I’d been doing on healing IT band injuries, I’d NEVER seen anyone mention these.

However, thanks to return policies, I decided why not—I’d give it a go. I definitely wasn’t optimistic, but I figured $16 for a velcro strap was worth trying before building up some lovely PT bills. I decided to check online to see if anyone at all had any success with this thing, and much to my surprise—a lot of people had. Amazon’s reviews were full of positive accolades for this strap, which definitely heightened my curiosity.

However, I was still very wary. When you’re injured, it’s easy to get really excited about a potential “cure,” only to be disappointed that it doesn’t immediately alleviate your ailment. I’ve learned this lesson too many times, and I’m very settled with the fact that injuries require patience and time to truly get over.

Fast forward to Saturday: BF and I decided to hike Mt. Si in honor of our four years of couple-hood, and I figured I’d wear the strap for poops and laughs. I wasn’t concerned about the going up part, as that’s not what irritates my IT band/knee. No, the downhill is what worried me—and I knew that this was when I’d be able to tell if the strap had any advantages.

From the top! Washingtonians, you must hike Mt. Si, it’s fantastic.

I had zero pain going up, and as we started going down—I was anticipating the stabbing knee pain to start at any time. I kept waiting, and still…no pain. I could definitely feel the pressure of the strap, but not even a glimmer of the pain I’ve been having for the past 6 weeks. So, in a completely reckless and probably unsmart move, I asked BF if we could try running a bit…just for fun.

Off we went, in hiking boots no less, and still…no pain. This was shocking. Even if I can get away with little knee pain in exercise, going downhill or downstairs will always flare it up. But there was nothing, and the further we went—the bigger my smile became. I love running down trail hills, and it felt so good to be flying down each switchback. We stopped a few times to make sure my knee was cooperating, and still…absolutely no pain. I was shocked and encouraged.

After we finished, I removed the strap, expecting to feel at least some of the familiar knee stiffness, but there was nothing. Aside from some very tired quads, my leg felt completely normal.

Obviously I was excited about this excursion, but I was still very wary. The true test would be how my knee felt the next day, and more importantly—if it worked again.

All through Sunday, and all through yesterday, I felt fantastic and decided last night to really see how this thing fared in some real running.

And you already know the results of that. I was blown away, confused, and mostly super excited. I stopped every two miles to stretch my IT band and check on my knee, and every time I stopped my knee felt completely normal. I admit I got a little ambitious with my pace and my mileage, but I couldn’t help it. I haven’t had a pain free run since before the marathon, and it felt so good to be running my familiar route. Not walk-running. Honest to goodness running, the entire way.

I was wiped by the end, understandably, and after finishing and doing some regular post-run stretching and foam rolling, I was still pain-free….and continue to be today.

Now the question becomes… what does this mean?

Well, for starters, while this IT band strap definitely does work—I understand foremost that it’s really just a bandaid. It’s alleviating the symptom of my injury, but it’s not solving the root problem. I’ll still be rolling and stretching regularly, icing, and popping anti-inflammatories. I won’t be stupid or reckless just because I “can” run again. I’ll get back into it slowly and cautiously, and be aware that the goal is to run without the strap at some point.

So, I’m going to be smart. But guess what? It looks like I’m also going to be running!

Who knew that a 1 1/2″ piece of material with velcro could be so effective? Remember, I am speaking solely from my own experience with this thing—I have no professional medical training or education (I know, you’re shocked), so please seek expert advice when considering options for treating this injury.

However, this IT band strap has helped completely reduced the pain in my knee caused by running. It also could be a number of other things—I hadn’t run for over a week when I tried this guy out, I have been consciously rolling and stretching a lot, and I’ve given this thing a while to sort itself out. I don’t know if this strap would have been helpful even two weeks ago, but no matter the combination of why my pain is going away—I’ll take it.

I realize that was an incredibly long-winded way of saying, “I bought a weird strap thing, and it’s working,” but I think you could have figured out that brevity isn’t my specialty 🙂

In other news…this little girl is back in my possession:

MY BABY'S HOME!!

MY BABY’S HOME!!

My credit card is also feeling incredibly appreciated.

Things seem to be getting fixed around these parts, and while I’m trying to stay cautious, I can’t help but feel pretty darn hopeful as well.

Have a great day!

SEATTLE PEOPLE! If I organized a group hike (either to Mt. Si or elsewhere) would people be interested? Let me know, and any suggestions are welcomed!

Coping Confession

I would generally consider myself someone who’s conservative with their money.

I’m not particularly stingy or tight, but overall I’ve never been a big spender.

Part of this, I think, has to do with two things. The first is just the way I was raised, and the second is that I just don’t really like to shop that much.

Sure, I can find 123,900 things in Target I don’t need in a solid half hour, but tell me that I’m going to go on a “girls’ shopping spree” for the day, and I’m honestly less than thrilled. Malls and stores make me tired, and although I do like pretty and new things, the whole process of actually getting them wears me out.

What normally happens is that I’ll find something I like, try it on, debate for about 10 minutes in the dressing room if I really need it, and eventually I’ll decide I don’t, then I’ll do the exact same thing in the next store, on and on. It’s very unproductive, and all the time I “waste” by talking myself out of buying things is reason enough to keep me out of shopping centers a lot of the time.

You can imagine my surprise, then, when I recently had to cut myself off because I’d been spending so much more money than normal on things. Not Menchies or race registrations like I normally save all my pennies for, but real things.

And why, you might wonder, did my credit card recently decide to get all stir crazy?

My official diagnosis is this: Injury Coping Mechanism, also known as an unusual, subconscious habit you develop to distract you from being injured.

You see, once I actually realized the increase in money I’d been spending…there was a very obvious thread in all the purchases being made.

Every. Single. Thing. was for running.

I think it’s no coincidence that over the time I’ve been unable to run, somehow I decided to buy the neon pink top I never would have considered otherwise, or the Garmin I’ve been putting off buying for months, or the pair of shoes that were unnecessary but might make running easier.

There were a few more items purchased, but I’ll spare you for fear of being called a lush.

Which I’m not, I swear. I just happen to have a very odd coping mechanism when it comes to being injured, in the form of outfitting myself for whenever I am running again. A bad case of ICM, apparently.

The funny thing is that I actually didn’t realize what I was doing at first. It wasn’t even until I was recounting some of my latest additions to my running lifestyle to someone else that I realized just how much I had bought in such a short period of time. And for someone who is normally very thrifty with their money, I could only look to my IT band as the culprit of it all.

It really does make perfect sense. Though I may have being doing it subconsciously, a part of my brain obviously wanted to feel like it was “preparing” or “getting ready” to run again. I think it’s a comfort thing: if I’m acting the part, I must still be a runner, right? Of course, I know I will be and still am a runner despite my injury and shiny things, but it’s interesting to note just how injury coping emancipates.

I think everyone has certain things that they do, I guess this just happens to be mine. And don’t worry, I’m cut off—and everything I did buy during my ICM-induced craziness will actually be useful once I’m out on the roads again.

What is your injury coping mechanism? Chocolate? Cross-training? Sitting on your butt and loving every minute of it?

Perspective

Did I blog yesterday? No.

Was I going to blog yesterday? Yes.

So what happened? Well, consider my lack of communication an act of sparing readers from my down-in-the-dumps-ness. Yes, that makes sense.

You see, I had big plans for some positivity, some weekend recap, and some random banter. However, life chose to thwart that plan a bit—and alas, my ability to even fake happiness yesterday was completely zapped away. I didn’t feel I should divulge my feelings to the Internet, so I decided to follow the mantra that Mom always says, “It will be better in the morning.”

And you know what? It is. Sure, things are still pretty damn crappy, but thanks to my unavoidable optimistic hard-wiring, I’m feeling about 700% better than yesterday. And heavily caffeinated, which is a staple in the RB recipe book of creating a good mood.

But let’s back track a bit. Because despite my resentment toward the shit that’s gone down, I cannot leave you hanging like that. Note that I am wary about reporting personal, non-injury related bad news on my blog, however this isn’t so private. So, onward.

On Sunday, BF, my friend Anna, and I were headed east to do some hiking. BF was driving my car, while Anna and I followed in her own. To make a long story short, BF started going 30 on the highway, pulled over, we screwed around with some engine starting and stopping, and it was concluded that we needed to get the car towed. We still managed to get in our hike thanks to Anna’s vehicle, but at the end of the day BF and I spent our evening getting my beloved Glinda settled at an auto repair shop in West Seattle.

Gooooooooood times.

(Side note: AAA can see right through it when you try to get a membership after you need their services. In summary, get AAA before you need them—it’s worth it.)

Anyway, yesterday I went back to the auto shop with some high hopes for a simple, fixable, not-too-expensive diagnosis for my poor car.

Can you see where this is going?

Take the opposite of those high hopes, and that’s exactly what the mechanic got to tell me.

Essentially, my car needs a new engine, which including the labor involved in installing it, is going to come to oh just a little bit less than I initially paid for the car. Super duper fun times.

So, after a lot of discussion over what to do (you know how those conversations always need to happen in crappy car situations), I decided to bite the very expensive bullet and get my car fixed. It’s really, really not an ideal situation—but that was the best decision to make, and so all I can is move forward.

Other than feeling really bad for my car (she’s my baby!) and being pissed at the blow to my bank account, I was mostly just sad for all the things I wouldn’t be able to do/would need to put on hold due to this super inconvenient circumstance.

In truth, I was really just feeling sorry for myself. I spent most of yesterday alternating between crying and racking up a list of all the things I need to currently buy, pay off, and save for that will have to go to the back burner.

You know, because adding up all those things was really going to make me feel better about the whole thing.

It was a pity party to say the least, and while I’m still wallowing over the set-backs this will undoubtedly produce—the truth is, these things happen…and it’s going to be okay.

Sure, it sucks, and as a young 20-something I’m not exactly the most equipped person to handle the financial blow of it all. But, it really is all about perspective.

I might not be able to buy the road bike I’ve been planning on for a little while longer, but you know what? I’m still healthy, I’m still clothed, I’m still fed (a lot), and I’m going to be fine. There are many people who would have had to cut their losses completely in a scenario like this. And with that said, there are many people who don’t even have a car—nor the means of retaliating from a situation like this. When I can shift my perspective in that regard, it makes the whole scenario a lot more manageable.

Am I going to be paying an extra, hefty monthly bill for a while? Yes. But, it’s not the end of the world.

When I began realizing that this situation is only going to be as severe as I make it, I began to draw the same parallel to my lingering injury. The fact is, I’m still in pain, I’m still not feeling like I’ll be long running for a while, and I’m still in and out of very pissy moods about this whole thing. However, when I can pull out my better-self and think about this injury in the grand scheme of things, much like my car, it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal.

I can’t run right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t run again. I know I keep repeating this (mainly because I have to keep re-telling it to myself) but all runners get injured. You are almost as much a runner when you’re injured as when you’re busting out PRs…it just comes with the territory. When I think about all the professional and Olympic-bound (Kara, I love you) runners whom I admire and look up to, it’s comforting to realize that all of them, at one point or another, has been sidelined—and, obviously, that never stopped them from doing great things.

Being a great runner isn’t about always being able to bust out a marathon on a whim or running fast every single day. It’s not even about times, podiums, or number of medals hanging in our houses. It’s about having the mentality that no matter what situation we’re in, whether sidelined or on the race course, all we can do is our very best. If we do that, there’s nothing to be disappointed in.

The transition from the whole car perspective thing to my injury reflection was a bit janky, I realize, but I think the biggest lesson I’m coming to terms with is that no matter what the scenario…everything will really be okay. In the big picture, hiccups happen, but they are only as big as we make them out to be. Even when we’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, or generally pissed off at the things that have brought us down, it’s so important to remember that we are still in control—no matter our feelings to the contrary. Because we are…we just need to keep the reigns in our own hands instead of letting our emotions and stress take them away.

Okay, enough serious stuff. I will leave you with some pictures from the weekend, instead of detailing all the adventures. As I said on Friday, my friend Anna came to visit me, and we had a wonderful time. Here is some documentation of that wonderfulness in photos. Spoiler, there was a lot of food involved.

Ikea! Please note our new indoor tree. Name yet to be determined.

A trip to Via Tribunali in Upper Queen Anne was the ticket for our Saturday night feeding, and it did not disappoint in the least.

Whole bottle of wine at dinner, check.

…And what goes better with a bottle of wine than a huge floppy pizza? This was all mine, in case there was any confusion.

BF approves.

And obviously after you are full of wine and pizza…the next best move is for…

Molly Moons ice cream! No, both are not mine, this time…

 

So, obviously I have a certain tendency to take pictures at meals. No need to photograph our beautiful hike, or any other activities for that matter apparently…I promise to get better at this!

So, regardless of the car mishaps, my weekend was certainly fantastic, and I’m thankful to have such a wonderful friend who will venture across the state to eat, play, and laugh with me.

 

I hope your week is going well so far! And if it’s not, try taking some control over your situation, and remember that although things could be better, they could always be worse as well. And if all else fails, go find yourself a pint of B&Js, or a puppy to play with. Strangers’ puppies are perfectly acceptable. 

 

Run Love

So I’m not going to lie. Waking up to a Twitter and Google Reader full of “National Run Day!” hoopla stung a bit.

Okay, it stung a lot.

Did you know it was National Run Day? It is. Happy holidays!

As someone who is a lover of every last holiday, including the random, probably-made-up days our country tends to promote, National Run Day is obviously right up my ally. Normally, I would celebrate with a double-digit morning run, in my favorite running outfit, and probably blog all about being in love with running after visiting the local running store to geek-out over miles and gels.

I take my holidays seriously people. And when you give me an “official” day to celebrate running, I will enthusiastically twirl a baton and wave at spectators at the running parade.

However, this year…my celebration plans aren’t exactly going to pan out as I would like.

Honestly, I could run today. My leg is definitely feeling better every day, and after 68 minutes and 7.5 miles of run/walking on Monday, my hopes are much higher for a quick comeback. I have been spacing out my runs with several days in between since I started back up, allowing any soreness or knee kinks to completely evaporate before trying again.

The thing about an IT band injury is that you’re not necessarily making things worse by running on them. Running doesn’t feel too great, that’s for sure, but it’s still do-able. Running with this injury essentially just elongates the healing process, because it tightens the band, therefore straining the knee, and even more icing and stretching is needed.

So, physically, I could run today. My soreness from Monday is nearly gone, there’s good-ish weather, and of course it’s National Run Day!

The question, then, this morning became…should I?

I absolutely hate the thought of being someone who doesn’t pay tribute to their favorite thing on a “national” day of recognition. As pretentious as it might sound, if there are people out there today logging miles that hardly run otherwise, surely I must be out there as well.

I’m a runner, I should be running today, that’s a given. And I can run! (kind of) So why not?

Essentially, I was thinking that it was a dishonor on my part to not run today. Yea yea yea, I know it’s a fake holiday and running any other day wouldn’t be any less fun or sweaty. But, I was still feeling pulled to run. Just to know I did it. Just to know that I am still a runner who can run whensoever she feels.

But then I got to thinking:

“Okay Robyn, is going out and gimping out a few—potentially painful—miles really going to prove you’re a real runner?”

(I don’t really think in third person, just go with it.)

Part of my brain said yes. It said, “Go on! Prove you’re getting back in the game. Prove that even without running for a month, you still have it in you.”

But prove what to who exactly? To running? Because I’m mad at running? Because I’m afraid of running and feel like I have to redeem myself worthy again?

This is when the other part of my brain started to infiltrate my thoughts. The part that is sensible, rational, and dare I say—smarter. She helped me realize that running for the sake of running today wasn’t going to actually help anything. It wasn’t going to send positive recovery vibes to the universe or “prove” to anyone or anything that I am still a runner.

No, all it could possibly do was set me back.

And all at once, my sense of reason took over, and I realized the truth.

If I love running so much, why would I want to run when I shouldn’t be?

If I want to “prove” my love for running, what I really should be doing is the sensible, careful thing…which would be allowing enough recovery, not pushing my limits, and slowly building back my strength. Running now (when I probably shouldn’t be, for no reason other than pride) would only prolong my ability to run in the future that much further.

And do I want that? No.

The best way for me, then, to celebrate National Run Day—a day where running should be given all the love it deserves—is to sit it out. My biggest downfall as a runner, as demonstrated in the Tacoma Marathon, is that I abuse the privilege of running. I can never get enough of it, and instead of treating running with TLC, I play roulette with it and my body—leading to collapses and injuries.

In that regard, I don’t need to “prove” anything in terms of my ability to get up and run. That’s not the hard part for me. The hard part is understanding that running is not something to be careless about, and in fact it needs the same kind of essentials as the rest of us—including some time to step back, lay out, and sip a summer brew.

(Go with my metaphor on this one.)

My point is that run love is not all about logging miles and miles, day after day. That’s a huge part of it, for sure, but run love also includes the times when we know we ought not to run. I know that if I truly want to prove how much I love to run today, I should let other people pound the pavement while I save my body for the time when it really can run again.

If I wanted to wind up in the same self-destructive mindset that led me to my downfall in the Tacoma Marathon, I would go run today. However, I want to be smarter, and I know that if I really want this sport to be in my life for a long time, I need to learn when to back off and be less selfish. Because running today would be the selfish thing to do, and in honor of my unconditional, pure love for running—in an act of selflessness, I’m going to start releasing the reigns.

 

With all that said, Happy National Run Day! Despite injuries, racing casualties, missing toenails, and an always full laundry hamper—I love this sport so incredibly much. As much as I might have whined in the past month, and as frustrated as I might get about being injured, I still ardently believe that even on the sidelines—nothing can teach us more about ourselves than running. And for that, I am thankful.

Whether you’re running or not today, I hope you show off your run love. Or, if you don’t run, go on and wave at someone who is. I can guarantee they are happy to be doing it…or at least they will be once it’s done 🙂

And mark my words, once fully healed, I will be celebrating my own self-made National Run Day with many happy miles, and anyone who wants to participate is invited.

How are you showing your run love today? How do you show your run love everyday? 

Running(!), Bridesmaids, and Doughnuts

Greetings friends, strangers, and family members who lovingly check in on my life.

How’s it going?

It’s JUNE. How did that happen?! I seriously feel like I was just bundling up every day and cranking my heater on a regular basis. Spring flew by, and while I know each year everyone seems to talk about how fast the time goes, for real this year seems even speedier. I’m just hoping this isn’t a sign of getting older…24 is ripe, I’ll tell you.

But let’s celebrate the time instead of commiserate its passing, shall we?

Plus, I have THINGS TO TELL YOU.

Friday Faves (obvs), AND I have some encouraging news. It’s not exclamation point encouraging, but exciting nonetheless.

;

I RAN. Well, ran-walked. And unlike Sunday’s fail of a walk-run attempt, I can confidently say that this excursion went well! Let’s back track a bit though and do a little lack-of-running recap.

Since doomsday the Tacoma Marathon, I haven’t been running at all. I tried a few times, realized very quickly that my IT band is shot, and since then I’ve been desperately trying to massage and ice and exorcise the stubborn demons out of my leg. It has been a month, which is pretty hard to believe—since it seems like only a little bit ago I felt fully recovered. Pathetic.

And no, I haven’t really been performing exorcisms on body parts. Yet.

Anyway, I have been sad, you have heard a lot about it, I have become a grumpy injured runner, etc. Whine whine whine.

Despite being peeved at anyone and everyone with fully-functioning legs, I actually have been more okay with this running leave-of-absence than I thought. After getting myself back together after that race, I realized that taking a step back was probably just what I needed. Although I’m sad it took an injury to fully solidify my “rest period,” the timing is without question the universe telling me to slow down. And slowing I have been.

Cue, Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to try walk/running again. I was/am tired of being inside on a spin bike while everyone in the entire world is out running.

(By the way, when you all of a sudden can’t run, every single person and their puppy seems to start running.)

It only took about 2 minutes in for my knee to seize in that all-too-familiar way, and so I started to walk, per run/walk standard procedure. After a minute, I started to run again, and after another two minutes…I realized my knee felt better. Not great, but not bad. While I am always hoping that one day I’ll wake up and the running gods will have waved their wands (the Stick) and made my ailments completely go away, at this point…I’ll take what I can get.

And guess what? I was out on my favorite route for 45 minutes!! 32 of which were running, and the others were spent stretching/walking. I didn’t even really care that I was having to walk at some points when I otherwise would have been flying by other people. It felt so good to be outside, by the water, and actually sweating from running. I know I had a big smile on my face the whole time, and I felt better after each spurt of running.

;

;

It would be a lie to say that my knee didn’t hurt afterwards, because it did. However, although the running is bringing on the IT band flare, it doesn’t seem to be making it worse, does that make sense? As in, the pain is there…but it’s not getting any more significant through movement.

The next day, I was sore but still pleased that for the first time in a month, I can say that I covered over 4.5 miles.

You cannot see my sweat, but it’s there!! And it’s from running!!

YAY

I’m going to try again perhaps Sunday, and with any luck this next attempt will be even better. Wednesday’s run was the first time I’ve actually felt hopeful about my running endeavors in a while, and that’s a good feeling.

ALSO. In other news regarding feeling like a runner…remember back when how I told you about my two dead toenails holding on for dear life? Yes, well, they have been hanging around, black and beautiful. I figured since I haven’t been running, they would calm themselves down and return to a semi-normal look.

So I go to cut my toenails last night, and I realize that one of my black nails is COMING OFF. Like, I could easily pick it up.

I’ll spare you details, you get it, but I am officially toenail-less. Which is nasty, no doubt, but it’s also a friendly little reminder that I am, in fact, a runner…injury or not.

Also, writing about cutting my toenails feels really TMI, so… sorry. Strange, because apparantly I have no qualms with talking about peeing my pants while running.

Moving on…let’s get onto some Friday favorites eh? I’ve been slacking recently, sorry, but I’m back and ready to deliver the goods. And by “goods,” I mean “random shit that I like that I’m going to tell you about because this is my blog and you are reading it.”

It’s fine.

Christian The Lion

If you have not seen this video, STOP what you are doing, no I don’t care if your boss can see, and watch this video. It is almost certain that everyone has seen it, but if not…you will not be disappointed.

This never fails to bring a smile to my face and actual tears to my eyes. I don’t cry from movies people, ever. But this is perfect. Animals really have the whole unconditional love thing figured out…if only we could catch on.

How much do you want to hug a lion after watching this? Also, Whitney is crucial to building the anticipation.

(Side note: When I say I don’t cry in movies, I’m really not kidding. However I need to inform you that no matter how immune to tv/movie crying you may be, if you watch the Glee season finale from this year while on a foam roller you WILL burst into heavy uncontrollable tears. Seriously, SOBS.)

Dixie Cup Ice Massages

Every runner should know about this contraption. Oh wait, I was the only runner who wasn’t doing it? Dang.

BUT I have made a few discoveries regarding the usefulness of freezing a Dixie cup full of water.

1) The functionality of icing your leg is highly improved by using this method as opposed to holding individual ice cubes and pointlessly running them along your leg.

2) This shit hurts. Due to increased grippage (thanks Dixie people), you can really dig into your muscles with this baby. Ice AND massage= two for one special! The concentration of a huge hunk of ice on a knotty IT band yields a good deal of pain, and with enough effort, this can be as brutal as the foam roller.

*Question for anyone who has done this…is it normal for me to be sore the next day from doing this last night?? I think I might be bruising.

Pink Lady Apples

I cannot believe I haven’t done this one before, but I actually don’t think this favorite has been on my list.

I can safely say that I eat an apple every single day. I love them, they are easily transportable, and they accent other things so well. With that said, I have made the rounds in terms of trying all different kinds of apples.

My key components are: crispiness, tartness, and size.

I love me a huge apple, which often times dictates which ones I pick up. Also lucky I live in WA, where the big apples are ample.

Through all my experimentation, Pink Lady apples are the winners in terms of consistency and appeasing all my apple must-haves. The are always hard, tart with a subtle sweetness, and they are generally big.

Galas and honeycrisps suffice when my favorite PLs are absent, but otherwise I will be a Pink Lady lover for life.

Bridesmaids

I know, I know. Old news, everyone has already ranted and quoted on and on about this movie.

Don’t care, it’s on the favorites.

This movie gets funnier every time I watch it, and so far I haven’t gotten sick of quoting or rewatching it. There are SO many funny things that aren’t even that obvious at first, and I credit it to the brilliance of Kristin Wiig and the probable ad-libbing that went on. Megan is obviously the best character, with Annie’s (K. Wiig) female roommate as a close second.

This is not going to be interesting whatsoever, but in case you are as obsessed as me and can identify these nuances, I’ll share some of my favorite lines which frequently make their way into my daily vocabulary. If you’re over this movie, just go ahead and skip ahead:

“Oh that’s prickly.”

“I’m glad he’s single cause I’m gonna climb that like a tree.”

“No it’s not… me.”

“Yea oh shit. Yea oh shit.”

“I’m just gonna snowball off of that and say Fight Club. Female Fight Club.”

“Well only because I’ve never had a drink!”

OK. Done.

National Food Holidays

I love food. I love when everyone else loves food, too. I don’t always participate, admittedly, but I think it’s a hoot when everyone’s all of a sudden buying grilled cheeses or cupcakes or eating peanut butter by the spoonful—which is super fun, any day of the year.

With that said…

Today is National Doughnut Day.

Celebrate accordingly.

I don’t really need an excuse for most things, but doughnuts are something I rarely have…so why not today, right?

PLAY WITH ME! What are your favorite things? What kind of apples do you like? Favorite Bridesmaids lines? Is my post-ice massage soreness kosher? Are you kosher? Is anyone really kosher? I’m done I’m done.

Class People

I am going to be completely honest here and tell you that I really never thought much about exercise classes.

I always considered myself self-sufficient enough to take care of my own fitness, and in a completely judgmental and unfair way, I thought the reverse about people who went to classes. I’m a jerk, I know, and all I can plead is ignorance. I preferred keeping myself disciplined and designing my own workouts as opposed to someone telling me what to do. I figured classes were there for people who didn’t know how to exercise and needed encouragement and motivation from an instructor. Asshole, I know.

Fast forward to March 2011 (Or I guess rewind? Go with it):

Injured Robyn: Completely incapable of running, or even walking for that matter. Also, really effing grumpy.

Universe: “HA! Want to rethink judging those exercise classes, or drown in an out-of-shape pile of couch-sitting and Phish Food pints?”

Now, the Phish Food definitely happened, however at this point I realized that despite my aforementioned preference toward solo-cizing, in order to maintain a level of fitness—I would need to surrender at least some of my gym time to a professional instructor.

(Robyn, stop trying to make “solo-cizing” happen, it’s not going to happen. Thanks, Regina George.)

And you know what? I converted (ish). Spinning is a really darn good workout, and it necessitates a killer instructor who is kind of scary. Yoga is one of my most favorite things now, and not only does it make me stretchy and flexible (good for running), but it calms me down.

fyi: I NEED CALMING A LOT OF THE TIME.

Anyway, I am fairly certain that had I not been literally forced off the running-only wagon, I would never have found these other forms of sweating. Even when I was able to run again, I kept rolling on the cross-training bus, much of which included group-exercise classes.

Where am I going with all this? Well, if you haven’t been listening to my incessant blog rants, tweets, and merciful pleas to the universe(joke-ish), I am currently not able to run. I was robbed of a happy IT band in the Tacoma City Marathon, and since then I have had to be creative.

Luckily, thanks to last year’s injury, I was better prepared for how to keep myself in shape. (Dear world, if I must get hurt, let’s go for the winter months next time, cool?) In essence, I’ve been spinning and swimming like a madwoman. You would think I was preparing for a tri. Wait, am I? But, this time I wanted to actually try and take advantage of this temporary loss of my run love.

I committed to focusing the energy that is normally occupied with race registrations, long runs, and PRs on other aspects of my health—like  getting stronger and more bendy. I knew this would entail doing some of the things I normally avoid—such as venturing outside of the familiar spin room to—gasp!—another class. I have the yoga and spinning thing down…I’m a regular, the instructors know me, I’m comfortable with both. However these are the extent of my class experience.

My lack of attendance in other classes was due primarily to two things: 1) No time with marathon training and (honestly, more so) 2) apprehension. When I work out, I like knowing what I’m getting myself into. I like knowing beforehand that it will be worth my time, as in difficult and a good sweat, and I like knowing that I can get through it no problem. I didn’t really think that other group exercise classes would be beyond my physical condition, however as someone who is used to getting along no problem in a group exercise setting, I don’t like thinking of being the newbie who knows nothing.

Yes, I am psychotically competitive.

HOWEVER, I did vow to try. And try I have!

More specifically, I’ve been going to a “Maximum Sculpt” class at my gym, which was the least frightening choice when reading the online description. I knew the instructor, and the paragraph detailing what it included had enough familiar terms that I was comfortable testing it out.

It seems that I was not alone in preferencing this class—because when I arrived at 5:55 for a 6:00 am class, the entire room was full of everyone with their little stations of a step and weights and omg how much crap do we need??. So, obviously I pretended like I had been before, didn’t ask for help, and found the very last spot in the back of the room—which honestly I was grateful for.

And just like that, I was sweaty, tired, and humbled. Despite having a fairly strict routine myself, switching to something new proved that I have things I can definitely work on. My hammies were screaming after that first class, and lifting my arms to shampoo my hair was equivalent to bench-pressing BF.

Yes, you read that right—I do shower.

In essence, I was out of my comfort zone. And you know what? I’m totally digging it. As a creature of habit in all aspects of my life, I rarely stray from my normal routines—and exercise is perhaps the most perfect example. Because I can(could, sad face) run really long distances and lift weights on a semi-regular basis, I gave myself an out on not really pushing my body otherwise. I was so focused on running, and not having too sore of legs, that I was wary of ever doing anything else. And I didn’t care. I gave myself a get-out-of-jail free card and simply refused to try anything else.

Now, PLEASE remind me that I said this when I can run again, but I am realizing that we aren’t actually reaching our full potential by doing the same things over and over again. I know every exercise know-it-all preaches this, but I never really internalized it until I realized all the things my body couldn’t do. Naively, I figured that because my endurance was tip-top and I could run 26.2 miles, I had everything else in the bag.

Wrong.

Guess what? Running might be fantastic for many things, however just because you can run for three hours does not mean you have the fitness thing completely figured out. In that same breath, I am hoping to use this whole humbling I-actually-have-room-to-improve experience to teach me that while running might be my numero uno, I still need to focus on strengthening myself in other vacinities.

Running actually leaves a lot of our body parts quite weak, as I’m finding, and it’s due to these imbalances that a lot of injuries occur. Pounding out miles doesn’t always mean we’re getting better, and I’m recognizing the fact that the only way for us to get better is to do things that are uncomfortable. 

In this respect, I’ve sort of admitted to myself one of the biggest reasons I haven’t tried on any other exercise caps. It’s because I was/am afraid of it being hard. I know that sounds funny coming from someone who will willingly run 12 miles before the sun is up, however running is something that I know I can do. When I don’t know that I have the ability to excel at something, I get scared that it will be beyond my physical condition. Hence, the underlying reason why I never wanted to try out anything else.

Sure, it’s really easy for me to say these things when I don’t have the availability to run whenever I want, but it’s something I hope that injured and non-injured runners alike can recognize in their own habits. In running, in all physical conditioning, and in life, it’s the hard things, the things that are outside of our comfort zone, that actually make us better. It’s great to get comfortable…to know that we can knock out effortless miles day after day. But, that’s exactly the time that we should be looking at our weaknesses, and figuring how to improve upon those things. Plateauing is really easy when we stick to one repetitive routine, and it can be one of the fastest ways to injury, boredom, and actually losing our strength. I’m realizing now that I was absolutely plateauing when I was running a lot, and had I been a little less obsessive perhaps I would be in a different spot today.

So, I suppose for now—I am a “class person.” I am really, really enjoying getting my butt kicked by workouts, specifically when it’s facilitated by someone else. It’s good to see that despite having a lot of endurance strength, I have a lot of room to improve. Because despite how humbling it might be, it’s really exciting to see that I have a lot more potential—which gives me a lot of hope for my racing future, whensoever that may be.

I know I will always prefer to workout alone, but a little socialization never hurt anyone—and for someone desperate for another best friend while running takes a time out, a group setting could be just the ticket.

Now, talk to me: Are you a class person? Do you try to shake up your routine? Have you ever hit a running plateau?

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde: Injured Runner Brain Dichotomy

If you were sitting around on Saturday wondering why you all of a sudden you felt void of any stress or unhappiness, it’s because I had taken EVERY NEGATIVE FEELING IN THE WORLD and conglomerated it all into my own personal pity party. Yep, all my Friday positivity decided to completely dissipate come Saturday morning, and it took essentially all day to work myself out of my I-hate-everything-and-everyone funk.

Also, if I really could take away all your sadness, that would be very neat and I’m sorry I have not yet figured out how to steal away bad feelings.

It took until late Saturday night (imbibed with Footloose musical fever, tequila, and sleepovers with friends) til my grumpy self got over herself and I returned to a more stable, level-headed place.

Oh wait no, that’s never happened—stable and calm are not exactly my “strengths,” so let’s just say I returned to a happier, I-actually-don’t-want-to-throw-rocks-at-people state of mind.

Why the freak out, you ask?

Well, there are two things that send me into panic mode: picking the wrong dessert and not being able to undo it, and not being able to run. Since I had a fantastic helping of strawberry shortcake Friday night (read: a bowl of whipped cream sprinkled with bits of cake and some strawberries), I bet you can guess why I was pissed.

I want to run, I cannot run, seemingly everyone in the world is running, and I was/am sad.

I got all down and out on Saturday because all I was hearing about were PRs, registrations, long runs, carb loads, etc. and it all felt very far away. Truthfully, I’ve been out of the running game for just over two weeks, but in a runner’s brain that is approximately equivalent to forever. Every day without running counts for about three weeks of real time, and it feels like the further away I get from it, the less accessible it seems.

There is a big, gaping, holy-hell don’t fall in that hole difference between what I know and what I think. My knowing self is rational, practical, and reasonable. She’s the part of me that graduated from college, that listens to my mom, and that decides, “Okay, you probably don’t need dessert number 3 of the night.”

Then there’s my thinking self. The self that spirals herself into a state of senseless panic over absolutely irrational thoughts. She is the over-reactor, the freak-out mode professional, and the reason behind a lot of my less-than-finer moments. Sorry BF for reminding you about all those.

Okay, my “thinking,” of-the-moment self isn’t always such a whiny little bitch, and there are certainly redeeming parts to her, however she tends to get in trouble when her spasms overrule her knowing counterpart.

Case in point: I know I will be fine. I know this isn’t *too* serious. I know I ran a marathon faster than my training and no-shit-sherlock I’m probably still feeling those effects. I know that I can maintain my fitness without running. I know that I will race again before long. I know that Chipotle is the best food ever.

Commence Saturday’s “thinking” routine: I think I won’t run all summer. I think everyone else is going to have fun and run fast and improve while I disintegrate into a running-less glob of rage. I think I’m going to have to start  over from scratch when I can run again. I think I will never stop being injured. I think everyone loves their life while I have to be sad all the time.

STOP ME NOW. And eventually I did. Shut the eff up Robyn…that’s what my knowing self eventually came and said, while she fed me lemonadey cocktails and hit me over the head with my running shoe.

Fact: No I can’t run right now.

Fact: I will run again.

Fact: Things could be a lot worse, and I need to eat my own words.

Seriously, one of the things I like about blogging is that it keeps us accountable. Despite the fact that I kind of hate the power of the internet, it is pretty impactful to go to your own website and see the words that you’ve so ardently preached. It’s a really good kind of humbling, and it keeps my in check with my rational self when my crazy lady takes over.

So I can’t run for now. I still have all my limbs, a roof over my head, a very wonderful male friend who lives with me, and a lot of other good things going on. Yes I’m sad I can’t take off on a long run, or even a mile-long run, without fear of IT pain. But hopefully maintaining a more sensible outlook and a relative perspective will keep the storm calm.

I apologize for revealing the whiny pity-party that I went through on Saturday. Afterward I felt silly and I actually a little embarrassed. However, I think it’s an important message for runners to remember, as I am always and endlessly reminding myself of it:

Running is important. It’s part of who we are, and we love when we get to do it. However even when we aren’t doing it—we’re still runners. Being injured is a part of being a runner, the two go hand-in-hand. I know I still think of running friends and bloggers that are injured as runners, and there’s no reason I should count myself out of the game due to a temporary decrease in mileage.

The hardest part is keeping this lesson in the front of our minds. Even as I was typing all that out, I could hear the small voice in my brain aching to be out running, and crying over the fact that I was not.

Those voices don’t need to be shut out, in fact they should be listened to, but they shouldn’t overwhelm us. All the sad non-running thoughts exist because it’s something that we love—and, frankly, because you always want what you can’t have.

But you know what? Bodies heal. And the best part about running? It’s going to be right there waiting whenever that healing is complete. Races are always going to be happening, training is always going to be readily available, and all the running routes in the world aren’t all of a sudden going to get up and skip away before you get a chance to trot them again.

So what am I trying to say here? Well, honestly, most of this writing was for myself. I hadn’t really planned on this post going in this direction, which I think is a sign that I needed to do some therapeutic reflection. And I do feel better. I’m still confident that the longevity of this lingering pain is getting shorter and shorter, and in the mean time I’ll be planning my future race endeavors (info on that soon!) and staying off my Twitter feed on weekend mornings.

In fact, I think I should do that no matter what my current state of physical health may be. The internet is great, hello stress-relieving-blog-posting and meeting sweet people , but there’s also a black hole effect to it. Stepping back, living real life, and letting all the ramblings of the world sit for a while is always a healthy practice.

And just so you know, I actually do love hearing about everyone’s PRs and goals and such. I was just a negative nancy for a while in there, and please don’t be afraid to tell me about your running-filled fun.

Thanks for reading about my two-faced mindset on being injured. I know I’m not alone in this type of back-and-forth ness between being okay with not running and hating every single person with fully functioning legs. It’s the nature of the running bug beast—that little devil.

Now tell me, if you feel so inspired, what was the best thing you gained from a time when you could not run? Dare I say—how did being injured make you thankful?