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Ghosts of injuries past… plus some Alaska euphoria.


I ran 78 miles last week, including 17 miles on Sunday.


I don’t know.

The 17 was at 8:07 pace.


I don’t know.

I get caught up in the moment.

That's me. Jumping on an Alaskan mountain. All photos were stolen from Andrew, who's blog I will pimp at the end of this post.

Getting caught up in the moment is fun… in the moment. (No, this isn’t about to be a Planned Parenthood public service announcement).

But mileage greediness in the present might be severely shattering if I ever again find myself limited to swimming with a pull buoy in the local pool for four months while rehabbing ferociously inflamed hip flexors. That was junior year of high school. The smell of chlorine still makes me feel wistfully sorry for my 16-year-old self, for how devastated I’d been by the season that got away, and for how I could have prevented it all if I’d known how to read the signs of an overuse injury.

Teenagers think they know everything. I was no exception.

Scared straight by that experience, I now worry every ache and pain with a doting scrupulousness that would make even the most dedicated helicopter parent blush. Whenever I have an ache that hurts for more than a few days in a row, I assume the worst. I think back to that pool and the chlorine smell and crying myself to sleep from the blinding frustration of not knowing when the knife-like pain would leave me alone for good.

I performed reverse-voodoo on myself. I visualized blood cells and helper T’s storming to the pain site and healing things up every night before bed. I iced. I stretched. I went to physical therapy. I complained a lot. Every random street jogger who trotted by was committing a deeply personal offense — how dare she prance around running in front of me? Doesn’t she know what I’m going through?


My point is that I never want to endure that again, so right now, I need to be a bit more conservative with the running. There is no need to threaten 80-mile weeks when my prior highest mileage ever was in the low-60’s. Aerobically and physiologically and mentally, this mileage is no problem, but muscularly, I’m not there yet, and I’ll run myself straight into injury traffic if I keep this up.

As I’ve mentioned, I thought I was going to be sick of running exclusively everyday, but I haven’t reached that point yet. I do need to reign myself in and gradually build up mileage — as opposed to neurotically deciding that 80 MPW is the new normal just because I did it once. This post on recovery from Kitchen of a Runner came just in time!

And thank you all for your thoughtful responses to my last post inquiring about the benefits of strength training, core work, and plyometrics.

Accordingly, I’ve done a lot of thinking about it and have decided to incorporate some plyos into my daily to-do:

I think I got about... 2 inches of air. WNBA here I come.

I’m also including some yoga:

What is this, warrior pose remix?

Hill running…

I tried to look like an athletic catalog girl. Fail. At least the scenery did it's job.

And stretching…

Rocks are comfy places to stretch.

As well as some general mountain climbing.

Heights make me feel all woobly and giddy.

I’ll let you all know how that works out for me.

For those of you visiting for Alaska updates rather than my usual running drivel, I encourage you to check out my roommate’s daily photo blog. Then head over to my friend Andrew’s blog for some hilarious stories about a few of our adventures, the people we meet, and the adjustment of moving to Alaska from the lower 48, all in a writing format that absolutely defies all common laws of grammar and punctuation, which makes the experience even better. His post on our Mt. Roberts hike is a good place to start. Thank you for tolerating my photo-thievery, Andrew! 🙂

Have you ever had a long-lasting overuse injury? How did you stop yourself from going crazy?

How do you know when it’s time to take a day off?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/15/2010 02:17

    78 miles is awesome 🙂

  2. 09/15/2010 03:56

    what a great week! 78 miles and a killer pace for that 17!? you rock. hardcore. and i love the pictures too. makes me want to move out into the mountains 🙂

    • 09/15/2010 20:54

      Haha thanks, 78 miles, only… half of your highest mileage 😉

      Fact: being surrounded by beautiful scenery makes it easier to run far!

  3. Lacey permalink
    09/15/2010 05:38

    WOW all around!!!! miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiles. and seriously your scenery is out of control!!!! glad you have someone to share it with / photo document! 🙂 did you run seriously in high school?

  4. 09/15/2010 09:00

    I’m so conflicted. Bitching about swimming – bad. Posting that picture…

    • 09/15/2010 20:56

      A. I like swimming, I just didn’t like being sidelined with an injury… so even now that chlorine smell whips me back to that sense of disappointment.

      B. What. The 16-year-old one? Oh, you.

  5. 09/15/2010 10:31

    You are hilarious! I love those pics. I was also in the pool for months earlier this year. I guess cross-training KIND OF helped me mentally. Except I hated it.

  6. 09/15/2010 16:53

    dang yo. try to restrain yourself! although, i do wish i had that dedication and drive…

    • 09/15/2010 20:58

      HAHAHA look whos talking, little miss 3 races in one night, ridiculous long run progressions, 5000-zillion mile bike rides.

  7. 09/16/2010 02:16

    good for you to know when to rest. seriously. that’s not something i know how to do and i REALLY need to learn!! i’m always pushing it, and then i end up on the sidelines for even longer in the end! (doh!) so not worth it.

    beautiful pics, btw, i almost didn’t believe you took the first!!

  8. Murdoch permalink
    09/18/2010 18:28

    Nice picture, judging by the background i’ll guess it was in B wing- probably near Mrs. Hiltz room or Mr. Reichards although it could also be near the pool.

    Looks like you’re putting in some solid weeks, keep telling yourself 4 @ 60 is better than 80, 80, 40, 60. I know last year I would have probably run faster if I hadn’t done 110 leading into XC and instead did 90 feeling good all of the time. Remember, consistency over months always beats the epic weeks.

    • 09/19/2010 19:04

      I think this was from French class, but who knows. And yes! I need to keep the big picture consistency in perspective. Although technically, hours-wise, this isn’t that epic of a week. In fact, its a big reduction from the amount of “work out” time I’m used to. With the typical erging + running pattern that I usually have going, I log about 90 “miles” total per week (I sort of convert my time-spent-erging into miles, because erging is – believe it or not – harder than running. For me, at least). So 70’s feels easy by comparison. It’s a matter of letting my legs/joints catch up with my lungs/heart…

  9. 09/20/2010 16:47

    I know it’s time to take a day off from exercise when I’m too sleep-deprived 🙂

    That first pic could be an album cover, btw. Fabulous.

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