poco a poco, se va lejos

Hannah. 20. Los Angeles. c25k grad turned 13.1 hopeful.
Becoming a runner, one run at a time.


I didn’t write about this run last night because I was so incredibly pissed off / disappointed.  But we’ll get to that. 

All in all it was fine but a little meh - I just never got into it.  Part of that is definitely because I had to give my friend some small pieces of hardware (bearings, a skate wheel and some screws) and he lives about a mile away, which I thought would make a nice out and back through my usual route, but not on it.  It was good in theory, but the sidewalks were really cracked and uneven (sidewalks hate earthquakes and LA hates sidewalks) and there were a bunch of don’t walk signs.  That’s where the odd distance comes from - I paused the watch / app at one that I knew would be particularly long and forgot to restart it, so I guessed the uncharted distance and just tacked it onto the two miles. 

I know part of my slow pace is that I’m just coming back from injury and a lot of time not running.  Plus, who are we kidding, I wasn’t fast to begin with.  But I think the orthotics are definitely slowing me down too.  I just need to learn how to run in them and be more conscious of my form.  I’m realizing that they provide such a substantial and stable base (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing— it’s what they’re supposed to do) that they make it really hard to stay off my heels.  So that’s something I need to revisit in my coming runs. 

But why I was annoyed: I dipped onto the track for the last bit of the run, as I often do, and there were some guys playing soccer on the field.  Their ball ran off the field and towards me and, seeing as my pace was going to be miserable no matter what, I decided to kick it back to them.  I promptly and stupidly kicked an iron goal frame that was laid on the ground and murdered my big toe.  Aside from being a completely dumb injury it hurt like a bitch and swelled up really quickly and I was terrified it was broken.  Today it seems that it’s just badly bruised and shouldn’t set me back too much.  But still I’m kicking myself (not literally or I might miss and break something else.)  I haven’t had the moment of truth of taking off my nail polish to see if the toe nail is black yet, which will be coming later today.  



I ran another two miles tonight.  It felt good - like Sunday wasn’t just a fluke.  I tried to just relax and be grateful that I can run again.  And it was tough - tougher than I’d like 2 miles to be.  But I did it.  By the last half mile I was fighting soreness and a little fatigue and lack of confidence with every step with my dinner sitting about at my collar bone, but I did it and I feel good about it.

I’m proud of the running I was doing before the injury and I’m not erasing it, but I’m trying not to dwell on it.  Not compare myself to it.  At least for these first few weeks while I’m finding my feet again.  

I’m still taking my time and deciding on my next step.  But right now I’m thinking that I need to relax and really enjoy running again.  I need to build my confidence as much as my fitness.  So my tentative plan is just to raise my distance by a half mile every 2-3 runs starting next week and just see where that gets me.  


(Hopefully) First Actual Run Back

I got my orthotics back this week, they fit more or less comfortably in my running shoes, and I think I might just be back (though I don’t want to say that too loudly.) 

I did two slow miles, which felt good.  I didn’t look at my pace once and it definitely showed, but tonight was more about the act of running than the actual run itself.  I thought about doing more but I want to (and am under doctor’s orders to) ease into it.  

Plus, my legs definitely felt it.  Oh how the mighty have fallen.  But in all seriousness, it was less that they couldn’t cover long distances and more that my muscles were remembering what it’s like to run again.  I stretched a lot before and after and I just took some advil to try and minimize the amount of soreness, though I know there will be some.  I’m trying not to lament or even really assess at all the amount of fitness I’ve lost just yet - for the next week or so I’m just going to run some short slow distances and see where that gets me. 

And then once I get back into being able to support a consistent running routine I’m going to have to reassess where all this is going.  I don’t want to go back to another 10k program, but I’m not sure I’m ready to start a half program right off the bat (plus, given my history of getting injured literally days before starting a half program not once but twice, I’m forced to wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something.)  I had my eye on some big distances before I had to take time off.  Those sound a little long right now.  In part because I need to rebuild some fitness, but mostly because I need to rebuild my confidence.  

So we’ll see what the next few days and weeks bring.  In the meantime, it’s very good to be running again.  After the initial week or two of being injured you kind of fall into a rhythm of not running, even though I have definitely missed it.  I didn’t realize just how much my mind and body really missed it until tonight.



I didn’t quit. 

I just need to get my orthotics adjusted because they are way too wide to sit in my shoes properly.  I realized that the reason I felt like I was falling out of the shoe was that the orthotic was splintering the shoe so it wasn’t really holding my foot. 

So back to the drawing board, hopefully I’ll be back on the road by April…


First Mile Back

I ended up getting my orthotics on Thursday before I left, so I am able to start slowly transitioning back into running.  After an hour of wearing them just walking around doing errands after my appointment I was pretty sure that they would need adjustment.  The left (injured) foot felt okay, but the right foot (which hasn’t given me any issues) was a little bit painful along the same region that the hurt foot had been.  But I decided to give them another try today and I’m cautiously hopeful that they’re okay. They do make my foot sit up higher in the shoe which I’m not in love with though.  I’m not sure if it’s something I just have to get used to or if I can/should look for a higher cut (deeper?) pair of shoes that will help me feel like my foot is really in the shoe. 

I’m at Penn State visiting my best friend right now, so it was a new experience running in 25 degree weather (though I know that’s warm for most cold weather runblrs.)  It wasn’t too bad - I wore my regular outift of a technical t and mesh shorts and threw a regular cotton hoodie over it, which was fine for my purposes though I would definitely invest in warmer technical gear if I was running in the cold consistently. My hands were freezing at first, but I got used to it and it was fine.  Plus I always remember finding it a lot harder to breathe in the cold which surprisingly wasn’t a problem at all, which I took as an encouraging testament to the fitness I’ve built up. 

I only ran a mile, though I did it without stopping which was a nice surprise because I was expecting to end up walk / running.  I felt like I could go further at the end but I was really conscious of overdoing it and decided to walk a little bit and call it a day. I was also relieved that despite a few little aches and adjusting to running 30-40 degrees colder than I’m used to, the mile itself was easy. This has been my longest break from running since I started and I’ve definitely had the fear in the back of my mind that I would lose all of my fitness and end up back at the c25k.  While I know I have lost a little bit of fitness, a few weeks of injury isn’t going to undo everything I’ve spent six months working for.  I know that logically, but it was nice to have a physical reminder as well. 


Injury Update & the LA Marathon

I went to the podiatrist this week and got fitted for orthotics - they should be in within the next week and a half or so and then I can transition back into running.  It’s frustrating, but I’m trying to be zen about it.  This was going to come up sooner or later and I’m glad it’s now and not like in week 15 of a marathon program, but still it’s a bummer.  It also kind of sucks because they’ll probably come in on Friday and I’m going out of town for a week on Thursday, but I probably wouldn’t have had much running time during my week away anyway so it’s not too detrimental.  

The foot still hurts some, but it’s functional.  I’m almost exclusively wearing my running shoes and gym sneakers still because they offer enough support that I don’t have a whole lot of pain.  It can kind of lull me into a false sense of security though, which I learned the hard way after attempting to wear (flat, but completely unsupportive) sandals to a party to Friday and ended up in excruciating pain and limping like you wouldn’t believe.  So I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m getting there.  

I also went to the LA Marathon today to cheer on a friend of mine - I’ll post some photos later. It was a really amazing thing to see and made me really really even more jazzed about running and really really even more sad about not being able to run right now.  I’m pretty set on running it next year and I’m excited.  

The one thing that upset me though was that they didn’t allow spectators at the finish line because of the events in Boston.  On one hand I understand that that was absolutely horrific and they are just trying to do everything they can to guard against a repeat incident, but on the other it really bothered me.  Having a crowd of spectators at the finish line is an integral part of the race experience.  Imagining all of those runners crossing the finish line in silence only to be funneled to their friends and families several blocks away just makes me really sad.  I just think there is a difference between concern for safety and being a slave to our fear.  I know the race directors were trying to act in the best interest of everyone and ensure the safety of both runners and spectators, but I think in doing so they denied both parties a really special part of the whole experience in a way that may have been going too far.  Not only that, but it seems somewhat misguided in the sense that while the Boston bombings occurred at the finish line, the target was less to do with the location and more to do with the mass of people at that location.  If, God forbid, someone was looking to do something awful to disrupt the event, the same mass of runners and spectators existed a mile down the road.  And if something had happened in that crowd, what then? Should we stop letting the runners have any supporters at all because we’re scared? But it’s also not my place to judge. I’m not a security expert, I’m not the race director. I would, however, be curious to hear the opinions of the runners who were affected at Boston to hear if they believe that finish lines should be isolated.  

But anyway, all in all I had a really great experience and got a really great sunburn from the marathon.  I really hope all of this injury crap that has been slowing me down recently is a distant memory if and when I run it next year. 


Also this blog has been quiet because I’ve been busy brooding over being injured, but the good news is that the foot is feeling pretty good except for some mild bouts of soreness.  I can walk without the boot without pain for short distances.  Going back to the podiatrist tomorrow to get fitted for orthotics as well as some more laser therapy.  While I don’t feel ready to run yet, hopefully he will have some good news about when I can get back on it.  I’m hoping for this all to be behind me by the end of the month. 

My friends indiscriminately refer to races as “marathons” 

No matter how many times I explain the different distances. 

One of our friends is running the LA marathon on Sunday and we are going to support him. 

One of them just turned to me and said, “I’m surprised you didn’t want us to come and support you when you did your marathon

….it was a 5k. 

I explained the difference between running 3.1 miles and 26.2 miles.  Namely, 23.1 miles. 

To which another friend chimed in, “they both sound impressive to me!”