Emotional Roller Coaster

As I mentioned in my last post, I won’t be able to run for a while. Abruptly getting sidelined in the middle of marathon training is less than ideal, which has really played around with my emotions. In general, I like to think of myself as a happy person. But since this injury has occurred, smiling is an anomaly. There’s days I’m on the verge of tears from the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep. If I’m really being honest, the first few days of this injury were mostly spent on the couch, pouring a bag of chocolate chips in my mouth, feeling absolutely pathetic.

But then there’s been days where I’ve perfected a yoga pose I haven’t been able to maneuver since my last yoga kick three years ago. Or other days where I opt for 10 needles in my leg and realized I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. Some mornings I’ve shot right out of bed at 5 a.m. to hit the pool for several hours and was reminded how lucky I am that I’m still in good health overall and have have many other reasons to be grateful.

Six Emotions Experienced During The Last Three Weeks

Impatient: I was never given an estimated period of time how long it would take to heal–which makes it really challenging because I’ve become so impatient wondering when I’ll be able to run again. I keep thinking and hoping every morning I get out of bed that the pain will magically go away and so far it hasn’t.

Determined: I want to come back to running stronger than I was before this injury. While I may lose all of my endurance and speed that I built up to before the injury, I’m working on becoming stronger in my arms, core and other areas of my body that I know will help me down the road.

Useless: I can’t help but feel useless when I hobble to the grocery store in pain or discover I can’t take Raven on walks because she pulls me too hard. Relying on others to help out isn’t something I do willingly so that’s been extra challenging.

Courageous: I’m not sure what’s more bad ass–when I originally said yes to dry needling and didn’t know what to expect or when I said yes again to dry needling two days later after I knew how painful putting 10 needles in my leg actually was.

Regretful: I only have myself to blame when it comes to this injury. If I could go back in time two months ago, there’s so much I would do so much different. I just can’t help but feel regret when it comes to the entire situation.

Optimistic: Despite all the negative emotions I’ve experienced during these last three weeks, I’m optimistic that I’ll still be able to run Chicago and even if I can’t, I know I’ll be able to run a marathon sometime in the near future. And I may even be faster and stronger because of this experience.

Six Ways to Combat the Sad Emotions

Be Social: My instructor in a yoga class the other day had us introduce ourselves to the person next to us. As it turned out, the person next to me was also dealing with similar injury. After class we chatted some more about ways we’ve been dealing with it and shared advice to one another. Interacting with others who are going through a similar challenge is a reminder that you don’t have to go through an injury alone.

Embrace the Happy Emotions: I can’t think of a better time to embrace the small victories. Even if has nothing to do with fitness, allow yourself to be happy as much as you can during this difficult time.

Be Kind to Yourself and Others: It’s okay to be angry but there’s no good that comes out of beating yourself up over the injury. Be nice to yourself and channel that negative energy into positive ideas on what you’ll do differently next time. It’s much more productive and more beneficial to your well being. I’ve also noticed that going out of my way to help others has made me in a better mood, which has helped combat the angry and sad emotions I’ve felt.

Don’t Eat Away the Pain: I mentioned earlier that I spent the first few days of my injury throwing down a bag of chocolate chips in my mouth. And then when I got a stomach ache from all the terrible food I ate, I felt even worse! Eating healthier during this difficult time will actually make you feel better. You’ll have more energy and it won’t be so easy to feel sorry for yourself.

#ChallengeYoSelf: Remember this mantra a few months ago? There are so many ways to challengeyoself outside of running and taking on new challenges has helped take my mind off of the fact that I can’t run. And speaking of challenging myself, that leads me to my next point and a very big announcement…

Set New Goals: All the biking and swimming I’ve done during these past few weeks reminded me how much I enjoyed training for a triathlon four years ago. And with all the excitement from last week’s Nation’s Tri, I couldn’t help set my sight on a new goal. One that I’ve had my eyes on since college but put it off because I caught the marathon bug.


That’s right, the biking and swimming instagram updates aren’t going away even when my IT Band gets better. In 2016, I’m going to complete an Ironman: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run in less than 17 hours (the official time limit for an Ironman to actually count).

Why not 2015?  I’ve got lots of money to save to afford a new bike that’s capable of riding 112 miles (My road bike was stolen back in June) and I still want to qualify for Boston this year or next. But in the meantime, I’m happy to have finally found the silver lining in this ordeal.


No Running, Lots of Foam Rolling

As much as I’d love to ignore my doctor this time around, the fact is I can’t run for a while. And I’m going crazy.

According to my physical therapist, my IT Band is extremely tight and was most likely from the heavy mileage combined with the lack of stretching. My orders were no running, lots of foam rolling along with several strengthening and stretching exercises.

Since talking with the doctor and a suffering through a few painful sessions of physical therapy, my IT Band still hasn’t loosened up. At the very least, I’m looking at two weeks of no running—the longest I’ve gone without running in more than five years.

Let’s back up to earlier this summer. I used to warm-up, stretch and even complete cool-down exercises on a fairly regular basis. But when my weekly mileage surpassed 50 miles, I could hardly find the time to complete the mileage let alone find time for stretching and strengthening.

As a certified coach, I know these two components are essential for a healthy and successful training plan so it’s not a complete surprise to me that I’m dealing with an injury but that doesn’t make going without running that much easier. In fact, it makes it that much harder because I only have myself to blame.

The first few days of this injury, I was sad, angry and mad at the world. I treated my disappointment with several bags of chocolate chips and numerous bagels. But after a few days, I needed to move on. I wanted to take matters in my own hands. I dug up my swimsuit that was buried at the bottom of my drawer, dusted off my yoga mat and got to work.

Having a Plan

While I had to put my marathon-training plan on hold, I created a new plan to get me through the next few weeks. From yoga to swimming and biking, I can workout as much as I want as long as it doesn’t strain my hip. While I’ve been crazy with no running, these items below have prevented me from going even crazier.

-Cardio 60 Minutes a Day: Mentally, it’s critical I get nice sweat going nearly every day. This will also ensure that I’ll still be in the shape by the time I can run again. So far I’ve biked, swam, done a few workout DVD’s and have also completed a few yoga sessions.

-Foam Rolling: If I’m being completely honest with you guys, my foam roller has sat untouched in the corner of my apartment for at least 6 months. Okay maybe a year. But luckily, I learned several different exercises on the foam roller that feels great (but painful) on my IT Band.

-Physical Therapy Twice a Week: In addition to giving myself a massage every day through my foam roller, I’m going into physical therapy twice a week for strengthening exercises, ESTIM, and deep tissue massages. Later this week we are also going to try dry needling…eeeek.


I’m trying to stay optimistic about the path I’m on but I only have a few more weeks to decide if this injury is going to stop me from competing in Chicago on October 12. Considering I’m having issues just with walking, the outlook is looking pretty grim as of right now.

How do you stay sane and cope with an injury that takes you out of running? Any tips or recommendations? 


Weekend {Running} Happenings Around the District (8/15-8/17)

Snip20140813_20Photo Credit: November Project


What: “Mass mob running the streets of DC and running to an undisclosed location to cheers and show the world how strong the #NP17 community is.”

Date: 8/17

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Jefferson Memorial

Description: “NOAH’S ARK: They Came In 2′s. You can interpret this how you like. Examples include dressing like someone else (twins), dressing as an animal with a partner, etc. GO BIG. The photos will be epic. (more details here)”


Date: 8/27

Time: 7:30 (20K); 7:45 (5K)

Location: Market Station at 203 Harrison Street SE in downtown Leesburg, Virginia.

Price $50 (20K); $40 (5K)

Description from the Race Website: “Join us on Sunday, August 17, 2014 for the 26th Running of the NOVA Plastic Surgery Leesburg 20K/5K presented by Harris Teeter! Run through scenic, historical Leesburg – Enjoy a rare opportunity to run a longer race during August – 7:30 AM (20k), 7:45 AM (5k), and 7:50 AM (kids’ fun run) start times will help beat the heat! See where your summer training has brought your 5k time — or, test your fitness and stamina in the 20k! This duo event is a great opportunity to race or simply use as a training run as you prepare for a 10 miler or half or full marathon.”

More Information


Name/Location: DC Road Runners, Iwo Jima Memorial (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/16 at 7 a.m.
Distance: 13 miles

Name/Location: DC Capital Striders, Lincoln Park
Date/Time: 8/16 at 9 a.m.
Distance: 6-7 Miles (varies)

Name/Location: DC Capital Striders, Dupont Circle
Date/Time: 8/16 at 8 a.m.
Distance: 10-20 Miles

Name/Location: DC Front Runners, 23rd and P Street NW (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/16 at 9 a.m.
Distance: 3, 4, or 6 Mile Fun Run

Name/Location: Washington Running Club, 3300 Block of M Street NW
Date/Time: 8/17 at 7 a.m.
Distance: (varies)

Name/Location: DC Front Runners, 23rd and P Street NW (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/17 at 9 a.m. (Start time may vary due to weather or race conflicts. To confirm, e-mail info@dcfrontrunners.org)
Distance: 10+ Miles

Note: Some of these groups may encourage/require club membership prior to group runs. I strongly recommend checking out the club’s website prior to showing up.

Articles of Note:

Hundreds of Miles Against Hunger (RunWashington)

2015 Boston Marathon Will Likely Have Field of 30,000


Weekend {Running} Happenings Around the District (8/8-8/10)


FREE Yoga Clinic For Runners

Location: =PR= Arlington
4501 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington,VA 22203
Date/Time: 8/10 at 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

=PR= Arlington is hosting a FREE yoga clinic for long distance runners that will focus on opening those hips and hamstrings. It doesn’t start till 10 a.m. on Sunday so there’s plenty of time to get your long run in before!

From =PR=:

Recover from your long run this weekend with a special YOGA FOR RUNNERS class at =PR= Arlington. Join your fellow long distance runners for a 60 minute relaxing flow that will focus on building balance and stability, and opening up hips and hamstrings. Those areas ideal for strengthening to go the distance. Bring a mat and bring questions! Flow will be led by allstar yogini, Alexis Tressler.

More Information

Frederick Women’s Distance Festival 5k Run/Walk


Frederic, MD




8 a.m.



Entry Fee

$25 for same day registration

More Information

Group Runs

Name/Location: Run with a Ranger, Washington Monument
Date/Time: 8/9 at 8 a.m.
Distance: 3-4 Miles

Name/Location: DC Road Runners, Iwo Jima Memorial (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/9 at 7 a.m.
Distance: 14 miles

Name/Location: DC Capital Striders, Lincoln Park
Date/Time: 8/9 at 9 a.m.
Distance: 6-7 Miles (varies)

Name/Location: DC Capital Striders, Dupont Circle
Date/Time: 8/9 at 8 a.m.
Distance: 6-16 Miles

Name/Location: DC Front Runners, 23rd and P Street NW (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/9 at 9 a.m.
Distance: 3, 4, or 6 Mile Fun Run

Name/Location: Washington Running Club, 3300 Block of M Street NW
Date/Time: 8/10 at 7 a.m.
Distance: (varies)

Name/Location: DC Front Runners, 23rd and P Street NW (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/10 at 9 a.m. (Start time may vary due to weather or race conflicts. To confirm, e-mail info@dcfrontrunners.org)
Distance: 10+ Miles

Note: Some of these groups may encourage/require club membership prior to group runs. I strongly recommend checking out the club’s website prior to showing up.

Articles of Note:

Half Marathon I covered last weekend: http://www.runwashington.com/2014/08/04/hundreds-rumble-rileys/

Sophie Greene compares hydration systems: http://www.activelifedc.com/running/the-ultimate-hydration-system-comparison/114112

Meb was in the District and dined at the White House this week: http://www.runnersworld.com/elite-runners/meb-has-dinner-at-the-white-house

Photo by Flickr user RelaxingMusic. License.


Product Review: Kyjen 2530 Hands Free Hipster Leash


Meet Raven. Since adopting her earlier this year from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, Raven has come out of her shell in so many ways. Whether it’s climbing up trees going after squirrels or “graciously” hopping up on the bed every night to demand her belly rubs, this pup has many things to smile about.

But her fear of the world sometimes gets in the way of enjoying life outside.

Prior to Lucky Dog, poor little Roo was kept in her crate 20+ hours a day as a small puppy. So while most dogs that age have the opportunity to get used to the world, Raven was only familiar with being inside of her crate. That unfamiliarity with the world is one of the reasons she’s so anxious outside.

It was clear from the beginning that she needed medicine to treat her anxiety. But after several months on anti-anxiety medicine, she wasn’t showing any improvement outside. That’s when she saw a “doggy therapist.” There were several ways to ease her anxiety but the number one recommendation was exercise. I couldn’t have been happier to hear those words. 

However, running with not only an anxious dog but also a two-year old energetic lab was very challenging. Trying to hang on to the leash as she dragged me through the city streets was weakening my shoulder and eventually put me in the doctor’s office. I had to take an entire week off earlier this summer because it got to the point where I couldn’t even move my arm. The doctor said if I kept doing what I was doing, surgery could be in my near future. 

The other option was running her without a leash. But that wasn’t actually an option. While I’m not going to judge others that do this, running Raven without a leash would be too risky. Because Raven is so scared of the world, she jets out in the street sometimes or runs in the other direction if she seems something coming towards her. Even if I only took her leash off on the trails, Rock Creek Park is too close to city streets and there would be no catching her if she didn’t stick by my side.

For several weeks, I felt like I was out of options. She had all this energy but no way to release any of it because my shoulder was too weak to hang on to her. But just when I thought I didn’t have any other options, I saw someone running their dog with a handsfree leash.  



I immediately looked online for a similar looking leash and came across the Kyjen 2530 Hands Free Hipster Leash. It was clear that the waste band was the perfect solution to my problem. By connecting the leash to my waist, I could use my core to keep her close to me and give my shoulder a break. I ordered it online and received it in the mail in two days.

Product Details

Price: $19.99 (Amazon)

Dimensions: 4 x 7 x 2 inches ; 7.2 ounces

Pockets and Features: Two pockets with reverse coil zippers for carrying essentials; Attached mesh pouch collapses and stores inside its own pocket; Dual D-rings for right side and left side leash attachment; Woven leash with dual clips included.


My Honest Review

Within the first few minutes I took Raven out for a run with the leash I thought this was finally the solution. She could still pull me but my core was strong enough to keep her by my side. And after the first few runs, I  found that running her through Rock Creek Park does more to calm her down than the heavy dose of anti-anxiety medicine she’s on.

I love the pockets that I can fit my bags or treats in and having the ability to take the leash on and off the waistband is ideal for getting her to and from Rock Creek Park (I drive there so we don’t have to go through the scary city streets).

But while a handsfree leash is the solution to finally being able to take Raven on runs, I’m not convinced this exact product is the solution. Even though it says “no slip” on the description, I’m constantly trying to keep it from riding up my waist. The pockets are also starting to fall apart after only a month of using it. And I’m not that small and the adjustable straps aren’t actually small enough for my waist (that may be why it rides up so much).

I’d also caution anyone looking into any handsfree leash for someone running with a strong dog. It does take quite a bit of effort to keep her by my side and every now and then when she really pulls me, if I wasn’t really careful, I could probably be knocked over.

I’d love if a fellow dog owner/runner could recommend a handsfree leash that doesn’t fall apart within the first month and actually fits me. Because after a month of running Raven a few times a week, she’s making dramatic improvements. She’s more content with being outside with the world. She doesn’t have as much pent up energy. And the only time I ever see her that happy outside, especially when she gets to take a dip in Rock Creek, is when she gets to tag along with me for runs.

Snip20140805_18(It’s so dang hot out here, Mom!)

I’m going to stick with this product for now until it completely falls apart but the last thing I want to happen is a poorly made handsfree leash to get in the way of this adorable pup’s happiness.


Weekend {Running} Happenings Around the District (8/1-8/3)


Photo by Flickr user Andrew Magill. License.

8/01-8/03: Tax Holiday in Virginia

Okay so I may be cheating here a little because Virginia is technically outside of the District but just a short run across the river, Virginia will exempt taxes on qualifying clothing and footwear.

From the Virginia Department of Taxation:

During this three-day period, purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax.

Here’s a map of specialty running stores in Virginia:

Riley’s Rumble Half Marathon

More Information

Not afraid to admit it, MCRRC is hosting one brutal half marathon this Sunday.

From their website:

Riley’s Rumble is the evil half that your mother warned you about. Don’t be seduced by the lush bucolic countryside of rural Montgomery County. This race will challenge the best runners. If you want the 3 H’s (hills, heat, and humidity), this is the race for you. It is a good workout if you’re preparing for a fall marathon but Riley’s is not a good idea for your first half marathon. As an alternative, consider volunteering for Riley’s and then running Parks Half Marathon (our ‘better half’) which takes place in early autumn when the weather is usually significantly cooler.


Boyds, MD




7 a.m.


13.1 Miles

Entry Fee

Free for MCRCC Members | $21.40 for Non-MCRRC Members

Group Runs

Name/Location: DC Road Runners, Iwo Jima Memorial (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/2 at 7 a.m.
Distance: 18 miles

Name/Location: DC Capital Striders, Lincoln Park
Date/Time: 8/2 at 9 a.m.
Distance: 6-7 Miles (varies)

Name/Location: DC Capital Striders, Dupont Circle
Date/Time: 8/2 at 8 a.m.
Distance: 17 Miles

Name/Location: DC Front Runners, 23rd and P Street NW (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/2 at 9 a.m.
Distance: 3, 4, or 6 Mile Fun Run

Name/Location: Washington Running Club, 3300 Block of M Street NW
Date/Time: 8/3 at 7 a.m.
Distance: (varies)

Name/Location: DC Front Runners, 23rd and P Street NW (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/3 at 9 a.m. (Start time may vary due to weather or race conflicts. To confirm, e-mail info@dcfrontrunners.org)
Distance: 10+ Miles

Name/Location: Virginia Happy Trails, Peirce Mill (membership encouraged)
Date/Time: 8/3/14 at 8 a.m.
Distance: 7 Miles

Note: Some of these groups may encourage/require club membership prior to group runs. I strongly recommend checking out the club’s website prior to showing up.

Noteworthy Articles

The Nats coaching staff go for runs before games: http://curlyw.mlblogs.com/2014/07/17/running-men-a-nationals-coaching-staff-routine/

The Onion takes a stab at how tired our legs are: http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-study-finds-running-for-20-minutes-each-day-co,36584/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:1:Default

Study shows you only have to run five minutes a day to reap the benefits: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/running-just-5-minutes-a-day-has-long-lasting-benefits/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0