Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

April 4, 2017

Mental Challenges When Returning to Running After Injury

So I talked about how to survive being an injured runner and then what I was doing to come back stronger after my metatarsal stress fracture, but I think I'm struggling right now with the return to running more than just being injured. So here's my long discussion to talk about it with all you readers. 

I finished the 6 week conservative return to running plan that my PT gave me with no problems, minus some soreness in my recovering foot a couple weeks. That plan which started with run-walk intervals and finished with 30-40 minute continuous runs had me around 10-15 miles per week, mostly on the treadmill.  After the plan I was trying to build up some longer runs outside so I could successfully finish the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon for which I was an ambassador. I kept my mileage from 15 building up to just over 20 miles a week with most of mileage come from a longer run on the weekend. I used the progression over consecutive weeks of 7.5 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles, 10 miles, rest, and then the half marathon. 


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Happy just to be outside
Obviously my fitness is not where it should be, and I was not feeling great during the half marathon but I finished in a not too shabby 1:45 and change. My foot had been feeling sore when not working out which brought back to mind signs that I felt when I had a stress fracture that week before the race (not on race day or during the race) so honestly I was mostly focusing on how my foot felt during the race because I was so anxious as well as the fear that I was over-doing it. Yes, I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety about my injury recovery and running in general. 

Running is already a mental challenge but adding in the anxiety and fear of being injured has made it even tougher. There are multiple mental challenges that have made returning from an injury really hard for me. 


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The first challenge is dealing with soreness and discomfort that may be felt in the recovered foot as the bone heals and is reported anecdotally from runners that it can happen for months or years after the injury.  The bone heals and forms a little callus so it should be strong, but how can I tell if it's normal soreness or pain signaling another injury? I also am extra anxious because my PT has me trying to change to landing on my midfoot instead of heel striking so in my mind I'm putting more force on the front of my foot, when actually I'll be putting less force through my foot all over (which he showed me on the fancy treadmill running analysis at PT). I've read all over the Internet, and it seems it's hard to tell, particularly when you are like me and are focused on it and hypersensitive to every feeling in your feet when running. Honestly I have so much fear of re-injury. 

Obviously if it's sharp pain that is bad and a sign of injury. If you have sharp pain, I'd get yourself checked out, just to be safeI can clearly remember when I had my stress fracture for about a week the pain was so sharp and throbbing, it hurt to even walk. There can also be phantom pains, which can be sporadic and vary in intensity in the area of the foot that was injured due to calcium buildup at the site of the bone recovery or just mentally induced kind of like PTSD. The possibility of another stress fracture when my foot was feeling sore last week had me in tears. It's hard for me to listen to my body when I'm so sensitive and hyper-focused on every little feeling in my feet. 

The second challenge is that progress is slow and steady. It's already April when I thought I would be back running like my old self, and I'm just not. I had the 6 weeks of just slowly building up from walking to running, not focusing at all on pace. Building up slowly after an injury to gradually increase the force placed on the healing tissues is key. This is especially true if you were completely off your foot in a boot or cast for a period of time which means your whole foot or body part needs to get used to the force of running again and rebuild strength. This also includes running every other day to start and not immediately adding speedwork or intense running back into your plan. This can be difficult mentally when you are just excited to get back to running. Try to think that going slow and steady now will help you stay healthy because some slow, short running is way better than no running. 

This article on Runners Connect has a great plan for getting back to running after a stress fracture and some symptoms during healing. My foot felt fine during the race and even the day after but the soreness for the week beforehand and a little bit a day after has me worried so I decided to take at least a week, maybe two off before running a lot again. 

The third challenge is social media or social comparison.  I love seeing that my friends or people I follow on social media are crushing races and getting PRs. However it can be tough to know that I'm slower and still am not at where I want to be. I want to be crushing races and having fun again! Most of my runs have been pretty tough with my legs feeling heavy. It's April and my stress fracture was in October/November so the idea of being hurt again had me in tears last week. I started my return to running plan in January so I thought I would be feeling more back to normal right now. I go between have little pity parties for myself and getting really upset at my level of fitness and being grateful because things could also be worse. I think taking a step back from social media, just as I suggested when being injured, can be helpful if it's hurting your self-esteem. 

Overall, the mental aspect of returning to running can be more difficult than the physical aspect of it. All I can do is try to take it easy, listen to my body, and trust the process. 


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Accept no limits!

Side note: This article has a great discussion on the psychology of returning to a sport after injury



Have you ever had trouble coming back from an injury? What is your biggest mental hurdle in running? 

July 29, 2016

Tummy Happiness with UP4 Probiotics {Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by UP4 Probiotics. I have used and currently use probiotics prior to this post. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

About 6 years ago I started having major digestive issues and things got so severe that I went to see a doctor. After some blood work and tests I was diagnosed with IBS (which is kind of a catchall diagnosis) and was told to grab some probiotics and be on my way.  Now I’m a little bit better at keeping things under control although I know that stress and crappy eating are huge triggers. The one thing I always make sure to take daily are my probiotics!

What is a probiotic, you ask?

Probiotics are the name given to the trillions of good bacteria in your digestive tract that keeps your insides happy and healthy plus boost your immune system

I remember trying UP4 Probiotics at Expo East this past year because they were sampling chewable cube probiotics-they were tasty!  I’m not going to lie, I totally take lots of gummy vitamins. Taking a few gummies in the morning ensures that I NEVER forget to take my vitamins.  UP4 makes a yummy little Adult cube chewable in a mild creamsicle-like flavor.


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chewable Adult cube from UP4
  When they reached out to me about trying some of their products including their UP4 Adult probiotic capsules and their Adult Cubes chewable probiotics. I wholeheartedly agreed. I've found that probiotics can be a little pricey plus I haven’t found a brand that I really liked yet. 

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UP4 Probiotics is awesome because select products are now available in Target stores in the Probiotics, Immunity Support, and The Essentials section and on target.com.  This is awesome because honestly I buy a lot of my vitamins there because I can stack coupons and my Cartwheel app to save me money. Plus let’s be honest, Target is awesome.  They also have Kids Cubes probiotics in the Kids Vitamin Section but all of their products can be used for whomever, no matter their age. 


Here are some awesome facts about UP4 that I learned after trying out their products which sets them apart:

  • UAS LifeSciences has been making probiotics, and only probiotics since 1979! Way before probiotics became trendy again!
  • The science nerd in me loves that they have over 40 years of clinical research on their trademarked superstrain, Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1 and have done clinical studies on select individual strains of bacteria they use in their products as well as some of their finished formulations!
  • The UP4 brand is a shelf stable formulation for 24 months so no need to refrigerate and their potency is guaranteed until the time of expiration.
  • Their capsule products are gluten free, soy-free, vegan, preservative free,and non-GMO
  • Their products feature studied robust strains including their trademarked super strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1 which has been studied to be beneficial in people of all ages!
Overall, I really liked the UP4 products.  I love that there is science and research behind it plus it uses an awesome super strain rather than whatever probiotic that I'm grabbing off the shelf mostly because it's on sale. The capsules have helped keep my digestive system happy and the cubes were perfect to take along on all my recent travels when my eating was full of more treats and delicious foods that didn't always jive with my digestive system. The fact that I can pick them up at Target and don’t need to make a special trip or order them somewhere is a huge bonus!


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GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to UP4 Probiotics, one lucky reader will win a bottle of UP4 Women’s Probiotics and a box of UP4 Kids Cubes plus reusable grocery bag.
Enter via Rafflecopter below!


This giveaway ends Monday August 8, 2016, 12 AM EST. Winner must be a U.S. resident. The winner will be notified via email right away. If I don’t hear back from the winner within 24 hours I’ll have to pick a new winner. Delivery of the prize is by UP4 Probiotics.

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole and Amanda. Check out Erica and Smitha's giveaway round-ups for more prizes to win!

January 26, 2016

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

Disclosure: Wedderspoon USA sent me Manuka honey products to try out. I received no other compensation. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

If the largest blizzard ever to hit Baltimore and dump just shy of 30 inches on the city this weekend wasn't enough of a hint, winter is really here. While I've been trying to avoid getting sick since before the Chicago Marathon through my Fall finals in December, we still have some months of cold and flu season ahead of us. It's never a good time to get sick, but especially at the start of the semester or if you are just gearing up your spring race training and don't want any setbacks.  Here are some of the ways I attempt to stay healthy and illness-free. Reminder, I'm not a medical professional these are just my tips, so always ask and listen to your doctors!


5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

1. Drink water. 
This should be on every health tips list. Water is just awesome for your body. In the winter sometimes it's harder for me because I'm not as thirsty during the day, but it's important to keep yourself hydrated.  

2. Stay well-rested. 
Getting enough sleep is another thing that sometimes is hard for me, especially when I'm in school and working.  Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system which means you're more likely to catch a cold.  If I start to feel like I'm catching a cold, I always try to get a good nights sleep and take it easy for a couple days. 


5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter-sleep-bed

3. Be like Pooh and eat some honey.  
In recent years I've become more interested in homeopathic and natural treatments. Honey in general has many health benefits including being an antimicrobial, but raw honey also contains many vitamins and minerals which help boost the immune system and can treat coughs and sore throats. Raw honey is cloudier, but I don't think it tastes much different.  Wedderspoon had sent me some of their raw Manuka honey products to try in the Fall after meeting them at Expo East. I was having a spoonful of their honey every morning and using their ginger honey lozenges weeks before the Chicago Marathon because I was determined not to be sick for the race this year.  I just ordered some more raw honey because I've been using it in my tea daily. 


5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter-manduka-honey

4. Load up on citrus. 
Even though there are conflicting studies regarding Vitamin C and immune system benefits, I still try to get as much as I can in the winter. I figure it at least can't hurt! I keep oranges and grapefruits around for snacks and also take Vitamin C supplements. I also make sure to drink juices with plenty of fruits and veggies in them like the Gundalow Juice Sailor Sunrise. If I feel something coming on I'll also start drinking Emergen-C daily which includes lots of Vitamin C.  

5. Wash your hands & disinfect. 
Don't touch your face either! Washing your hands sounds like a no-brainer, but it really is one of the best ways to stop the spread of illness.  From working in a hospital for a bit I know that officially you are supposed to use soap and water and wash long enough to hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice. Something else I do all year round is wipe down my phone with disinfectant wipes every other day or so. With touch smart phones now I feel like there is a ton of germs on our phones, which we are holding all the time too, so cleaning them is probably a good idea. 


5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter-phone



What do you do to stay healthy through the winter?

July 23, 2015

If You Run, You are a Runner {No Matter What Size, Ladies}

Between Women's Running Magazine's August 2015 cover and the profile on Mirna in Runner's World, the whole world (not just the running community) has been on fire about celebrating different body types of runners. I love both magazines and always read them cover to cover each month. Monica pretty much covered a lot I have to say yesterday, but I still wanted to share my thoughts

Also you should TOTALLY pick up the August issue (on stands now!) of Women's Running Magazine because it's a great publication and because you might recognize a face in the Blogger on the Run column. YEP THAT'S ME. I know it's super silly and there's bloggers who are in magazines or write for big websites all the time, but I'm really damn proud. I'm a little runner lady who started this blog to share my story, hopefully inspire some people, and connect with others. I'm small enough that I don't worry much about SEO, make a profit, or have a huge following but big enough that I get some sponsored posts and swag and some cool opportunities. 

It's really awesome to see that my hustle with upkeeping this blog and always trying to make it better is paying off (so that people enjoy it and so that my thoughts aren't a big random pile on the interwebs). Celebrate your hard work and all the small moments. I literally might laminate this page and put it on the wall above my desk (#I'MAHUGENERD). 


There is an awesome little Q&A with the cover model Erica online. I totally agree when she says "Running is for everybody anytime".  


It's always cool to see someone strutting their stuff who is a strong runner lady, especially because I've read many snippets of interviews with models who just say they do pilates and yoga.  I also was really moved in a different way about the article featuring Mirna of Fat Girl Running in the latest issue of Runner's World.  The first line of the article hit me so hard:

"People always say to me, ‘Anyone who runs as much as you do deserves to be skinny.’ Of course, what they're really saying: ‘If you do all this running, why are you still so fat?"

It may seem silly to you, but I feel like this some days.  I've got this blog & social media and all my friends know about my running adventures so it sometimes feels like well, people expect me to be skinny and ripped with a six-pack because I workout so much and eat things like chia seed pudding.  Even though I can totally put away some pizza and ice cream it should be okay because I work out so much. 


Of course other days I feel great and am all like: 
{source} Queen Bey tells it like it is. 


Mirna's story is so inspiring because of all she has done in her life and how much she has helped her community.  She is so honest and talks about accepting her weight but of course not being satisfied with it. The article also focuses on the running group she started and how many people she has truly helped with her life including encouraging other women to start running.  I literally teared up after reading it. 


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From Runner's World, photo by Brian Metlz
I love seeing things like this. However a small part of me gets irritated that being a "curvy runner" is such a big deal. Body love and acceptance seems to be a hot topic and changing a lot for the better which is AWESOME. However there is always backlash though about skinny-shaming and how we shouldn't glorify just one body type.  


I don't want this to come off the wrong way. I think it's totally awesome to see a woman on the cover of a running magazine who actually looks like a lot of runners. I just don't want the pendulum to swing too far in that all magazines feel the need to sort of insincerely use "curvy" models just because it's trendy right now. It would be cool to see a day when there are women of all sizes in magazines and for it not to be a big deal or create news about a the fact that there's "plus-size model" (a term I also dislike).  


As long as people are healthy, who cares what your clothes size is or what what your weight is.I wish for a day when that number on the scale or in your pants tag is like your shoe size, just kind of a fact


Besides all of that, I'm excited to see a woman that many female runners can relate to getting some press in a fitness publication. If that encourages just one woman to start running or sign up for a race, then that is AMAZING. While I am pretty average and maybe considered thin to some people, I've got some body issues like many ladies and definitely don't see a fit runner in myself sometimes. I've critiqued those unflattering race photos- my pudgy stomach, my thighs that would chafe in shorts without BodyGlide, and my boyish & uncurvy figure.   


When I first saw Ashley's post about running in a sports bra, I thought I wish I could do that. Really what's stopping me? People will see my un-flat stomach and disapprove? Do people at races really think anything at all of how I look, let alone that I don't look like a lean, tall, speedy runner? 
NO WAY.  

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I just see a happy, fit runner lady. 

If you made it through my ramble, just take away this: if you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter what shape, size, color, fitness level, or speed you are. You just are one. And feeling insecure about how you look compared to other "runners" should not hold you back from running or racing. 


Running has brought me so much happiness & strength so if you think you're too [fill in blank with negative idea] to run and that is keeping you from experiencing it in your life, that's just plain silly.  


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Have you read either of those articles? What's your favorite health & fitness magazine?

This post was linked up with Fitness Fridays

March 24, 2015

MealEnders-An End to Overeating {review & giveaway}

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary 4 pack of  MealEnders lozenges for review through the Sweat Pink Ambassadors network. Giveaway was offered and is provided by MealEnders. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Through blogging and being a part of many networks, I receive products and reviews offers each week with most of them not being worth my while.  Initially I was hesitant to accept the offer from Sweat Pink to try out MealEnders lozenges which claim to help keep you from over-eating, but curiosity got the best of me. 

They are low-calorie, stimulant-free signaling lozenges which come in four different flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Chocolate Mint, and Mocha.  



These lozenges are gluten-free with 15 calories per piece and only 2 grams of sugar.
  
I have my degree in Chemistry and love learning about science. Naturally I was intrigued by the food science of how these lozenges work, especially with the plethora of bold yet ultimately false claims made by diet foods in today's world. 


Mealenders lozenges have two layers. The first is a outer "reward" layer that is sweet like candy and signals the end of the meal. It's a softer, sweet layer that melts away in your mouth. The second is a tingling "inner core's active-taste layer"  engages the trigeminal nerve or "taste" nerve to signal the end of eating.  It's harder, and the best way to describe the feel is that tingling from menthol cough drops but in a delicious flavor. 

Many times I have trouble waiting the 20 minutes for my stomach to catch up with my brain and end up overeating. Also as a huge sweet tooth, I always love eating something sweet after meals-especially after dinner.