The Honeymoon!!

I know that the wedding recap is supposed to come before the honeymoon one, but I don’t have my pictures back yet from my photographer so that one is just going to have to wait.

We decided to not take any downtime between our wedding and honeymoon, and I must say I do not regret our decision. We were still on cloud nine from the best day of our lives as we hopped on our plane in Charlotte the next day. We flew from Charlotte to Miami, then Miami to Cancun, and we were in Mexico by 6:30 that night. I love that it was a relatively short trip, only a few hours and we crossed over to central time so it felt even shorter.

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On our ride from the airport we were talking about how crazy people were driving in Mexico. The speed limit signs were in kilometers, so I was trying to convert in my head what speed we should be going (“if a 10k is 6.2 miles, then 90km is…”). We gave up but decided that our shuttle driver was going REALLY fast. Before we knew it we were being pulled over by the police!

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What an interesting start to our honeymoon. The driver just got out, walked back to the police car and paid him 500 pesos right there. No ticket or anything… a slightly different experience than in the U.S.

We stayed at the Valentin Imperial Maya in Riviera Maya. I can’t recommend this place enough. It is all inclusive and the staff is AMAZING.

When we got to the hotel we were so excited to explore! We were greeted with champagne at check in and then got taken away on a golf cart to our room (this resort was HUGE).

The room was all decorated for us in true honeymoon fashion…

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Thomas went into the bathroom and said “We have a DUVET!!!!” I was confused as to why there would be bedding in a bathroom, and walked in started cracking up when I realized he was talking about the bidet. He’s so silly.

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We walked over to the main plaza where we saw a mariachi band performance and enjoyed a yummy Mexican buffet for our first dinner. They said they do these buffet/performances twice a week, and they just so happened to be having one the night we arrived. We even got called on stage and had to dance with a bunch of other honeymooners.

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We spent the next few days laying by the pool, going to the beach, drinking margaritas and enjoying each other’s company. It was so nice to just relax and not have to worry about work or wedding planning or anything.

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We did get some good activities in. This resort was adults only so the games and activities were super competitive and a lot of people got involved. We played a lot of water polo and now I understand why people say pool running is such a good workout. I was exhausted after every match! On the very first day, Thomas got a little too into water polo and lost his wedding ring. We were walking around the pool searching for it and slowly people started asking what we were looking for. Word travels fast and before we knew it we had a full on search team and we found it on the bottom of the pool! I needed a few drinks after that…

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The days were long and slow, just the way we like them, and we typically ate dinner pretty late. The food was AMAZING. Since it was an all inclusive resort, we overate at pretty much every meal. Which I’m totally fine with. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinners were all formal and seated meals with several courses. This was my FAVORITE lunch combo…

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We were in a building of “swim up suites” with our own personal lazy river. This was a much more quiet environment compared to the main pool with the swim up bars. The service here was awesome – as soon as you stepped out of your room a waiter would come over and ask to bring you drinks or anything you needed.

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On Wednesday we did a fun excursion for my birthday (my birthday was Thursday, but the Steelers were playing on Thursday and I wanted to make sure we were back in time). We took a catamaran out into the ocean and went snorkeling. We saw a ton of sea turtles that swam right up to us and let us pet them! The snorkeling instructor was giving them hugs and it was the cutest thing ever.

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They fed us lunch on the boat and then it turned into a full on booze cruise. They found out it was my birthday and made everyone on the boat take a tequila shot with me. The staff was awesome and watching drunk people dance on a boat that is swaying back and forth is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!

Thursday was my birthday, and we spent the day hanging out at the pool/swim up bar, playing water polo, and meeting a lot of new people.

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I chased some lizards around but Thomas wouldn’t let me keep one as a pet 🙁

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Thomas loved taking me out to my birthday dinner because he didn’t have to pay for anything! And I could have ALLLLL the wine I wanted 🙂

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The Steelers played later that night and we headed over to the sports bar to watch the game with some friends that we had made during the week. They were Patriots fans, and the Steelers unfortunately lost, but we still made it a great night! They have a DJ in the plaza until 1 am every night, so we spent the rest of the night dancing and trying to forget about the game.

The last few days were spent just like the others… pool, beach, food, more food, lots of siestas and fiestas. Overall, it was just a great 7 days with my amazing husband. I still just can’t believe how blessed I am to be married to this guy!


Now, in RUNNING news…

I got in TWO 3 mile runs on this trip without any pain. I’ve been very good about my rehab exercises for my IT band, and have been stretching/foam rolling/strength training my hips and legs almost every day.

It’s been 5 weeks and I am FINALLY able to start easing my way back into training, which is so exciting. Originally my goal for Richmond was to break 4 hours. I know that isn’t going to happen now, and I’m okay with that. I still think I can run the race if I am careful enough with the rest of my training to keep my IT band strong. The tough part is going to be finding the balance between overdoing it and not doing enough.

Married friends – did you honeymoon? Where to?

Ever been to Mexico??

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The Best Day Ever

I really don’t know if it’s going to be possible to express all of my emotions in this post, because the past 10 days have been the absolute best 10 days of my whole life. Except for yesterday when I had to go back to work, but we won’t count that.

I’m a married lady! Thomas and I were married on Sunday, September 6th in Winston-Salem, NC and it was just perfect. I’ll do a full detailed recap when I get all of my pictures back, but here are a few highlights.

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Conrad Louis-Charles Photography

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The tiniest, sweetest little ring bearer!

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It felt like the entire day happened in 5 minutes. I cried A LOT of happy tears and we drank and ate and danced like crazy. I have a million pictures from the weekend, but here is one really special one from Saturday night. This is my mom’s wedding dress transformed that I wore to my rehearsal!

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On Monday morning we were off to Mexico for our honeymoon! We stayed at the Valentin Imperial Maya in Riviera Maya. I’ll do a more detailed post about the whole week tomorrow, but I wanted to share a few pics and some exciting news.

My birthday was on the 10th, and I decided to attempt a run as a birthday present to myself. As most of you know I’ve been dealing with IT band syndrome for about 5 weeks now. Well, I got through 3 miles completely pain free. I was so happy I could cry. My longest run before that was about 1.5 miles and would end in pain. Since then I’ve gotten in a few more 3 milers and will be slowly adding more mileage as I ease back into training. Here are a few honeymoon highlights!

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Sailing excursion for my birthday where we swam with the sea turtles!

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Many more to come! Please be patient with me as I get caught up on all of your lives!! I feel like I’ve missed so much in just one week!

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A Brief Hiatus… ADIOS!

As most of you already know, I’m getting married this weekend! The wedding is on Sunday and we are leaving Monday afternoon for our honeymoon in Mexico. I’m going to be taking a brief blogging hiatus but will be sure to fill you in on all of the details as soon as we get back!!

I’m hoping a little rest & relaxation in Mexico will help to heal this nagging IT band injury. It’s been about 4 weeks since I’ve been sidelined and I am just now starting to run again. I haven’t been able to get up to 2 miles without pain, so I know I still have a bit of recovery ahead. I keep thinking one day I’ll be able to walk out the door and do a 10 miler with no pain, but that’s just not how it works. I’ve been diligently cross & strength training, so I’m still hoping for the best.

For now I’ll be enjoying my wedding weekend & honeymoon and will worry about this stupid IT band when I get back! Who knows, maybe that magical 10 miler will happen in Mexico…

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My Final Weekend Recap as a Single Lady

I’m going into my 4th week of dealing with this super annoying IT band injury, but I’ve definitely seen some progress in the past 10 days or so. I managed 6 miles of running this week (on 5 different days) and a lot of cross training.

My daily workouts pretty much are going like this…. 15-20 minutes on the stair stepper or elliptical, then a test run on the treadmill. These runs have usually lasted around 1-1.5 miles. I stop as soon as I feel pain in my knee. It comes on really suddenly and leaves just as quickly as soon as I stop running. Afterwards I either get back on the elliptical/stair stepper or switch over to strength training: abs, arms, squats/lunges, clamshells and bridges.

I’m kind of over being frustrated. There is no good that will come out of pouting, so I just run as much as I can and it gets better a little bit each day. I have 11 weeks until the Richmond marathon that I’ve already registered for. If I can’t jump back into real training soon I’m going to start losing hope. This was such a huge goal for me and I was so excited to train for it, but now it’s become a source of stress and frustration in my life, which is never what I imagined would happen.

BUT… let me just tell you that there is not an OUNCE of sadness/bad energy coming from this girl this week, because I’M GETTING MARRIED ON SUNDAY. I just started to cry when I wrote that (happy tears of course). I can’t even believe how lucky I am that I get to marry this man. He’s by far the best thing that has ever happened to me and I know everyone says they get to marry their best friend, and maybe they really mean that, but REALLY, he’s my best friend.

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We spent the weekend finishing up some last minute things for the wedding. My parents helped us out with our last minute crafts and then they took us out to dinner since it was my last weekend as a “Fager.” We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Smitty’s in Kernersville. Unfortunately Smitty’s does not have the best lighting, but they do have the best beer, onion rings, and ranch.

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Afterwards I mentioned that I wanted froyo (by mentioned I mean I told everyone we were going to froyo) and they all politely told me they didn’t want anything, but that they would take me. Well, four bowls of froyo later everyone was happy and full. You can’t GO to froyo and just not get anything. Not possible.

We went to bed super early on Saturday because we are old (I’ll be 26 on the 10th, ahhhh) and had lots of energy for the gym on Sunday. Dixie wanted to sleep in.. She was exhausted from playing with Greta the day before.

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I stayed off the treadmill completely and did an interval workout on the elliptical instead. 10 min warm up, 3 min hard/3 min rest on 8 resistance, 3 min hard/3 min rest on 7 resistance, 3 min hard/3 min rest on 8 resistance, 15 min cool down.

Sunday night we both had a fantasy football draft to attend to. I have a fantasy league with my cousins and this was the first year an “outsider” was let in by marriage, even though we aren’t officially married yet. Thomas was pretty excited, but we have to stay in different rooms and not speak to each other during the draft because we both take it pretty seriously. It ended peacefully and we are both pretty happy with our teams. The first true test of marriage will be when we play each other week 2 (the weekend we get back from our honeymoon). Should be interesting!

Well, now it’s time to take on this week and hopefully it will FLY by and then come to a screeching halt on Friday afternoon so it can slow down and we can enjoy the most amazing weekend of our lives!!

What is your favorite cross training cardio?

Anyone else play fantasy football? Do you and your significant other fight about sports? (we don’t like any of the same teams)

Posted in Uncategorized | 34 Comments

A Little Optimism and a Good Sign

I’ve felt like I really have had close to nothing to talk about the past 18 days since I haven’t been running. I haven’t felt motivated to write anything and I’ve been so frustrated that I’ve kept myself away from blogging since I want this to be a happy place. No one wants to read about someone complaining every day.

You guys left so many great comments on my post last week and you’ve helped me gain a new perspective on this injury. First of all, I’ve realized that it’s not the end of the world and the Richmond marathon in November is still a very real possibility. Secondly, I’ve tried to see the silver lining in all of this. This could give me a much needed chance to miss running and help me to appreciate it more and in a different way.

As I ease back into running this week (1.5 pain free miles last night!!), I feel like I’m going to think about it in a whole new way. I know I’m not going to be able to pick up training where I left off, but I’m going to try to appreciate just being able to run instead of getting frustrated after at mile or two. Injuries take time and patience, two things I’m running out of but that I need if I want to avoid making this worse.

Since I’m trying to focus on more positive things, I’m getting married in 12 DAYS! Sorry but I’m going to give you a countdown pretty much every day now.

This past weekend we took Dixie and headed up to the lake with some friends for one last relaxing weekend before the last minute craziness begins. Dixie had a great time swimming and sitting on her dad.

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She swims really well without a life jacket, but she gets too close to the edge of the boat and I have to put ot in her for my own sanity. She also loves riding in the UTV. She closes her eyes for pictures just like her dad.

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Monday night I did a 15 minute warm up on the stair stepper, did plenty of stretching and foam rolling, and was able to run 1.5 pain free miles on the treadmill! The good news is that I don’t feel any different cardio wise. It was only 1.5 miles, but I felt really normal, which makes me feel hopeful that my cross training has kept me in shape. Towards the end of my run I felt my IT band getting really tight and I knew the knee pain was coming next, so I slowed to a walk and called it a night. It’s really hard for me to not get excited and do too much, but I’m trying to practice some self control here.

During my warm up a sweet older lady was on the stair stepper next to me and tapped me on the shoulder to ask me what level I had mine set on. When I told her I was on 10 her jaw dropped and she told me how impressed she was. I told her she should start on level 3 or 4 and throw in 1 minute increases until she feels comfortable and she can eventually work her way up. She said no way, that she would never be able to do that. It was a good reminder that my body is still strong and that I can still do things that are really hard for other people, even if I’m injured. I worry about relying on cross training to keep my fitness up, but that sweet lady gave me a little extra reassurance that what I’m doing is challenging, and it’s definitely better than sitting around doing nothing. As she limped away, I thought that maybe she’s injured too, and maybe I gave her a little bit of motivation to work towards a new goal. Then, as I was leaving the gym I saw this pretty little guy.

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I’ll take it as a good sign!

Do you get impatient/frustrated during an injury or do you try to find the silver lining?

Are you an optimist?

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Running Names!

Dixie and I are very slowly easing back into running. Poor thing hasn’t had a good long run in over two weeks.

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Good news is that I’m HOPEFUL that next week will be the week I can really return to running at the rate that this injury is healing. My “test runs” have almost gotten up to 1 mile, which is a vast improvement from the 100 yard runs I was doing about a week ago. I have been stopping as soon as I start to feel pain in my IT band so I don’t overdo it. My life consists of a lot of squats, clamshells, stretching and foam rolling. SO exciting!!!

I feel pretty boring since my training has basically come to a halt for the past two weeks, so I just want to leave you with this picture that Thomas sent me a few weeks ago:

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What’s your running name?

I’m Marathon Fartlekker, soon to be Marathon McNumbnuts in 16 days!

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IT band update and non-running things that are keeping me happy

THANK YOU once again for all of your great advice and injury stories. You guys make me feel so much better and what is so amazing to me is not only how many runners deal with this injury but how different it is for everyone.

I’m definitely getting better. I’ve been hitting up the stair stepper at the gym because I feel like it does a good job getting my heart rate way up and working my legs better than the elliptical. I just can’t do the bike. I can’t.

I’ve been icing, massaging, stretching and foam rolling A LOT. I’ve even bruised myself a little bit, but don’t worry I stop when it gets too painful…

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I’ve been using the stick, my rumble roller and a golf ball to get to the little concentrated knots that I’ve been finding. Along with stretching and my strengthening exercises I’ve seen a lot of improvement, but I still haven’t been able to really run. I feel like this nifty K Tape has helped a lot too.

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My test runs have gotten longer and longer before I start to feel pain. I’m up to about a half mile before I have to stop. Right when I stop the pain is really intense, but goes away within a few minutes of walking. A week ago this pain would have lingered way longer and I would have had to stop my workout completely. Now I can switch to another machine or lift weights and not feel any pain.

I’m remaining optimistic that I’ll be able to jump back into training in time for the Richmond marathon in November, but unfortunately I don’t know when I’ll be able to run more than 5 minutes, and you can’t train for a marathon on the stair stepper.

I’ve heard great things about pool running as a cross training exercise, so I think that’s next on my list of things to try.

In other news, I think Dixie is actually a cat. She likes to lay on the very edge of the top of our couch. Maybe she just likes to watch over us…

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In other other news, we’re getting married in 19 DAYS!!!! Which also means it’s almost my birthday AND almost time to go on our honeymoon in Mexico AND almost football season.

Last night I had a nightmare that I missed my fantasy football draft and woke up sweating. I keep forgetting that you guys don’t know what I’m like during football season. I’ll try my best to keep this from turning into an NFL/fantasy football blog. Gooooooo Steelers Smile

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Football fans – who is your team? If you like the Ravens I will judge you.

Ever tried pool running? I’m scared to go to our gym pool by myself so I think I’m going to make Thomas come with me.

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Seven Days… Getting Worried

SEVEN days. Seven full days of no running. Might as well call it 8, because last night’s run doesn’t really count as a run. It has sucked, I’m not going to lie. Not only because I miss it and because I hate all other forms of cardio, but because I’m freaking out thinking about how I’m going to start losing my endurance that I’ve worked so hard for if this injury keeps me sidelined any longer.

If you missed my last few posts, I’ve been dealing with an IT band issue on the outside of my right knee. At first I wouldn’t notice it until a mile or two into a run, but now I can barely go 100 yards. It doesn’t bother me very much when I’m just walking or sitting for 8 hours at work, so I’ve been hopeful that it’s getting better.

I have done a little bit of the elliptical and the stationary bike, but I’ve been focusing more on strengthening and stretching my hips (the other end of the IT band) to speed recovery. If only I had been doing these exercises all along, I probably wouldn’t even be dealing with this injury. My advice: DO YOUR CLAMSHELLS.

I go on these little test runs every day with hope that I’ll be pain free, but I haven’t made it more than 100 yards or so without the same pain stopping me in my tracks. I’m ashamed to say that I usually run through injuries, but this is a “must walk or crawl immediately” type of pain. After my test runs I hobble back home and get upset and stressed about how I’m going to set myself back if I rest any longer.

On Thursday my test run felt better, so I went to the gym to try out the treadmill because it was too hot to run outside. Less than a half mile in I had to jump off. I finished up with 30 minutes on the elliptical and some strength training with a pouty face.

Dixie is not happy either. She is trying her best to help with recovery by snuggling and licking my knee.

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She will lay up against me while I do my leg lifts and then paw my leg as it comes down and she will lay her head on it. She doesn’t understand why I would want to do any sort of activity that doesn’t involve her…

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I told you how I obsessively research injuries and I think at this point I’ve officially read every article there is on ITBS and how to treat it. I’ve been to two local running stores searching out anything that I think will help and I’ve bugged everyone I know who has experienced this injury (thanks Susie <3). I’ve gotten new shoes and an IT band compression thingy, but the only thing I really need is patience.

Since I’m about at my limit of IT band knowledge, I’ve switched to a new obsession: researching how long I can go without running until I start to lose my fitness and endurance. I know riding the bike and doing other forms of cardio will help, but it’s still not the same as running. I’m grateful that I’m not completely sidelined and can still do some exercises without pain, but I’m getting worried. Most of what I’ve read says you won’t notice too much of a loss if you take 7-10 days off, but that it’s a very quick decline after more than 10 days. This is different for every runner and is based on how long you’ve been running and a million other factors, but it makes sense. So, I guess I have two more days until I go completely insane.

I know most runners experience injuries at some point during their years of training, so give it to me straight and be honest…

What was your most significant running injury? Did you feel like you lost your endurance? How long did it take you to feel like you were back in pre-injury shape? 

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Injury Update and 26 DAYS!!

Thank you SOOOOOO much for all of your comments on my last post. Hearing about your experiences with this injury and all of your advice has been so incredibly helpful.

Luckily one of my good friends in a physical therapist, and her first word of advice was absolutely no running for 7 days. She said I could do the bike or elliptical as long as it didn’t hurt, but that I had to take a break from running. Today is day 6, and I miss it so much. I can’t wait to try tomorrow with *hopefully* no pain.

I do research for a living, so there is no surprise that I have been researching everything and anything I can find on this injury. With all of that research and all of your stories that you left on my last post, I think I finally have my head wrapped around this injury.

At first I was treating it like any other injury – ice and ibuprofen, stretch and roll. Well, I’ve learned that may treat your pain symptoms, but does almost nothing for the actual injury itself. Apparently the best way to treat and prevent IT band injuries is to strengthen and stretch your glutes – particularly your gluteus medius. This is where the IT band originates and stabilizes, so it makes sense that this is where you need to focus your exercises.

I’ll be doing a lot of clam shells, bridges, side kicks and lunges. The most helpful article I found was actually on Pinterest, and it is long but so worth the read if you have ever had this injury —–> article here.

Since I have no running related news to report over here, I guess I’ll fill you in on everything else that has been going on in my life.

I’m getting married in 26 DAYS!!!! We went and picked up this bad boy on Friday after taking an oath that we were not first cousins…

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We had one of our last pre-wedding events this past weekend. My bridesmaid Stephanie hosted a Stock the Bar party for us at her house. Everyone brought us an alcohol gift and we may or may not have drank 50% of our gifts at the party, but we had a blast.

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Something else I learned during my research – IT band injuries are usually a sign that it’s time for new shoes. I’ve been in need of new shoes for a while now, but was trying to decide if I wanted  to stick with my Glycerins or go back to my favorite Brooks shoe – the Ghost. Well, the Ghost won and I got them in the mail yesterday. It’s very hard to get new running shoes and not be able to use them, but hopefully they will only have to wait another day or two!

Do you obsessively research injuries? Or do you just go to a doctor like a normal person?

Married friends – what is your wedding date? How long have you been married?

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

IT Band Problems… Help!

Sorry for being slightly MIA this week. I’ve been dealing with the beginning of an injury and I’m kind of freaking out a little bit…

During my long run on Sunday, I started feeling some pain in my right hip around mile 7 or 8. Not joint pain, but more like muscle soreness. I didn’t think much of it because it was pretty minor, so I finished up my 11 miles and felt totally fine afterwards.

On Monday I did a slow 3 mile recovery run (should have just taken a rest day) and noticed the pain again, but this time it was shooting all the way down my leg and was really bad on the outside of my knee. I iced and stretched and thought it would be okay.

Tuesday morning I woke up to take Dixie for a run and got about 10 steps down the street before I had to stop completely. I didn’t even feel it when I was walking around that morning, but as soon as my feet started hitting the pavement I felt the pain on the outside of my knee again. Dixie was not happy with me, but I knew I couldn’t try to run.

I spent the whole day icing my leg at work and stretching it out whenever I could.

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On Wednesday, I decided to try again. TERRIBLE idea. If there is one thing I’ve learned this week, it is to take a few days off as soon as you start to feel pain. Running through it is almost never the answer. I went slow and felt pretty good, so I did 5 miles on the treadmill. Well, I could barely step off the treadmill when I was done. That’s when I knew I had to just take a break before I made this way worse.

After doing a lot of research, I’m thinking this is most likely my IT band. It started at the top and now the pain is focused in the knee area.

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I think I’ll be resting for a few days. I was really excited to take on the 30 miles I had planned for this week, but sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and do what is best for your body.

Anyone have experience with this injury? What kinds of stretches and strengthening exercises do you recommend?

Posted in Uncategorized | 39 Comments