For the love of running

I’m not exactly sure when I became a “runner” as I have been described as. I ran cross-country in high school, and then ran pretty regularly through college, and post college (at least three times a week). I didn’t necessarily do it because I loved running, it was just something active to do that I could do, and sometimes did with friends which made it more enjoyable for sure. Running a half marathon never even occurred to me. 1) I didn’t think I could do it and 2) I didn’t want to do it.

Sometime last year that changed, it was a gradual change and then one day I decided: one of my goals for 2013 would be to run a half marathon. I think this decision was spurred by the fact that I was surrounded by more people running regularly and doing half marathons (new friends and work colleagues in D.C.)

My mom and I right before we ran the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in DC last year.

My mom and I right before we ran the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in DC last year.

Well here we are in mid-September 2013 and I have completed two half marathons this year, a handful of 5ks, and I have an upcoming 10k at the end of this month. In some ways I have come a long way in realizing my body’s physical potential and how my interests and hobbies have changed. Once a race ends, I vow to take it easy but then find myself signing up for another race.

After my 10k, I need to actually do this. In fact, I have set a new goal for me – to not run in any races longer than a 5k for the rest of the year. My body needs it.

1) As I was training for my second half marathon I noticed I was having mild-to mild/severe (I say that because the pain didn’t prevent me from running at all) lower back pain. After a few weeks of it persisting I looked more into it and it was suggested I go to a chiropractor. I found that going to a chiropractor regularly (three times a week) definitely helped me because I was able to get my spine realigned, I did several different physical therapy exercises during my visits and I received exercises to do at home, which I did every night. While the pains still occurred I was able to find relief after, and over time the pain gradually dissipated.

Not to mention my neck was constantly hurting or was in discomfort. Since I was a little girl my neck is where I have stored all my stress and have since, until recently, just accepted that my neck just always hurt (not terribly, but enough). I am always asking for neck rubs from my parents, brother, Tommy, and friends… It was at the chiropractor that I learned I had chronic neck soreness.

Fun factoid: a normal person’s neck has a c-curve. Looking at my neck on an x-ray showed that my neck was straight was a ruler. So thus began therapies to remedy my neck soreness. I acquired some pretty cool and very helpful things to aid with this.

The Denneroll. You lay your neck along the ridge for a certain period of time and it stretches out your neck.

The Denneroll. You lay your neck along the ridge for a certain period of time and it stretches out your neck.

My new pillow, a tempurpedic pillow. I

My new pillow, a tempurpedic pillow.

2) After completing my second half marathon I found that my hip flexors became very sore after longer runs. After Googling “sore hip flexors” I found that this is pretty common in runners and was able to find several stretching exercises to relieve this pain. It also became another area of my body that was focused on at the chiropractor. I was just perplexed that they were sore in the first place because I hadn’t experienced this after my first half marathon in March.

3) I have plantar fasciitis. I believe this came about even before I started training for my first half marathon. I learned it was because I was in the wrong running shoes and used my running shoes longer than I was supposed to. I also tended to overpronate when I ran. After talking to my regular doctor about it she gave me some physical therapy exercises to do at home. It helped, but I still had manageable pain. I was advised to go to a podiatrist if the pain persisted, but still haven’t gone. However I need to as I would like to find a way to permanently get rid of the pain and I have also been experiencing pain in my left ankle when I am not running. Once I start running I can’t feel it anymore, but eventually it comes back.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m falling apart or my body is failing me, the bottom line is I need to take care of my body if I want to keep running for years and years to come. 🙂 So here’s to taking it easy after my last race on September 28th and continuing to do all of my physical therapy exercises!

QUESTION:

For you runners out there, have you experienced any of these pains or may other pains I haven’t experienced – yet…?

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