Back Pain and Running

So, I’m really starting the year off right.  Today, I had not one, but two root canals (bumped my front tooth a few years ago and it cause the root to die) and found out that my bulging L4 L5 disc is, in fact, herniated.  As you can imagine, it has been a stellar day.

I am a nurse and have had trouble with my back for about 8 years now.  I had 2 successful spinal injections about 6 years ago.  The back pain came back with a vengeance about a year ago.  Two follow-up injections were unsuccessful and  has led me to see a neurosurgeon.

What does all this have to do with running? Well, innumerable  people have blamed my back pain on my running (one person also blamed it on my breast augmentation).  I  disagreed but didn’t have an expert opinion to back me up.  Until today!!!

I very casually asked my Dr. if I could continue running (while holding my breath and praying)  and if he thought my back pain was caused by running.  To which he responded, “If you didn’t run, then you’d be fat and your back would hurt anyway.”   I will say it got a little awkward after that when, after just meeting him, I told him I wanted to kiss him.

I have never tried a PT program for my back issues so he would like me to do PT for at least a month to see if there is any improvement.  If not, he recommends a microdiscectomy.

I am both apprehensive and relieved.  My back pain is quite bad at times and now I know why.  However, the unsolicited advice I was given regarding my back problems was nothing short of astounding.  I was really made to feel like if I couldn’t walk, then there really wasn’t a problem with my back.  One co-worker (who is lucky enough to have no aches or pains) said, “People should expect to have pain.” Ummm what?! Yes, there are times (ie. childbirth, surgery etc.) when one should expect a reasonable amount of pain.  However, pain day in and day out is wearing and not “to be expected.”

On a positive note, all this back pain has really made me a more empathetic nurse and person.   So now more than ever, when someone is in pain, I stop and sincerely express  how sorry I am that they are hurting.  And then I try my best to do something about it. For what its worth.


Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon Recap

Well I thought this recap would go differently but what can you do?

We left Friday night and headed to Rehoboth. Our hotel had an ocean view and was super close to the start. What more could you want?

We quickly dropped our stuff off at the hotel and headed over to pick up our packets. Ran into 2 friends- one running the half, the other running the full.  Made plans for the am.

They had the Hoka Clifton 3s there with sample sizes. I tried them on and I instantly loved the feel.  I bought a pair and am hopeful they will work for me! I usually run in Mizunos outside, but they recently changed their model and they no longer work for me.

Meanwhile, Bill walked over to Dogfish Head to put our name in for a table.  It was about an hour wait so we just walked up and down Rehoboth Avenue. It was great to just go for a  leisurely stroll without the usual bustle of the summer crowds. Plus all of the Christmas lights were so pretty.

We had a great time at dinner and headed back to get some rest.

In the morning- I got up, showered, had my usual oatmeal with a scoop of chunky pb, and watched the sunrise until it was time for Bill, Megan and I to leave for the race.

The race went off and  I felt okay but after about two minutes of running, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. This has NEVER happened to be during a race.  I wasn’t sure what to do so I just kept running and I was ok from Mile 1-5.

A large portion of the race is on the Breakwater trail. I didn’t check to see where port a potties would be (b/c I never need them 😩) and wasn’t sure if they would be in the trail section. It was at this point (mile 6) that I knew I had to stop.

I stopped and as a result, lost 2 minutes. As I came out of the bathroom, the first thing I see is the 2:00 pacer.  I was so disappointed. I knew I didn’t start the race right on time so I was a little ahead of them but I was hoping to be way ahead.

Which I was prior to said bathroom stop.

From there the race went totally awry. I think I just mentally gave up. I was so stuck on the fact that I made a stop and couldn’t make up the time. Plus my stomach was nowhere near 100%. I still felt the urge to go which persisted throughout the race. Fun/Gross fact- I also almost didn’t make it back to our hotel after the race.

My pace drifted up into the 9s and my bathroom stop was a 1010 mile.

I finished in 1:59:18. Needless to say, the race wasn’t what I had hoped it would be but so what?

I’m focusing on the positives for once because, although, I didn’t have a great race, Bill did!! He ran a 1:38 even with calf cramping issues.

My friend Megan finished her 1st marathon and we got to be there to cheer her in!! I love cheering for peeps it’s the most fun.

And I would’ve had a PR if not for that stop, so I count that a success.

My Indoor vs. Outdoor Times

I do almost all of my running on the treadmill.  Unlike most runners, I enjoy running on the treadmill.  Plus I am much faster on the treadmill- like 50 sec/mile faster- than when I run outside.

I realize that with the treadmill I am not getting elevation changes  or wind resistance but I am still frustrated with how much slower I run outside.

For example, I ran 4.10 miles today through Newark and my pace was 8:51/mile.  After the 1st mile, I felt like I was working so hard! This pace on the treadmill would be an easy one for me.

Of course, everyone knows that running outside is more challenging than indoors but I have one big issue with this theory-Bill.

Bill runs the same exact paces inside and outside.  Seriously! He says that it is because he has a good feel for his pace.

For example, 2 weeks ago I ran 13.1 miles in 1 hour: 47minutes: 40 sec which works out to an 8:11 pace.

The very next week, I ran the Rocky Run 10 miler in 1:29min and change. This works out to be an 8:58/pace.

I am running the Rehoboth Half Marathon  on December 3, 2016. My plan going into my training was to run outside more often. Which I did. I ran weekly on trails with two friends. They were slow, long runs anywhere from 7-12 miles. Then I developed metatarsalgia in one of my toes on my left foot.

It’s always something, right?!!

In order to make it to race day healthy, I had it injected, took two days off,  and have stuck to the treadmill for the majority of my runs.
Which has worked. Thank goodness.  We will just have to see how race day goes.  I am hoping for a PR.

I have run this half twice before.  The first time I ran it as a training run for my marathon.  The second time is my current PR of  1:58:40 and I was under trained.   I am hoping for a much better time.

40 While 40

I am sure you have all seen lists that people compile before a milestone birthday. Well,  I am not sure how in the heck this happened but I turned 40 today! Yikes!!



Anyway, at the Rehoboth half, I was running behind a girl wearing a 30 before 30 shirt. I’m sure you have seen this before.  Her shirt listed 30 things she wanted to do before turning 30.

I decided, “Hey, I want to jump on that bandwagon too”!

So I started a list and man do I love a list. But, I realized that 40 things before 40 was A LOT of things to come up, let alone accomplish.  So, I settled on 40 things during the year I am 40!  Some of the things are really quite silly but it’s my list 😉

  1. Run a sub 22 minute 5k. My current PR is 23:34. Not even a little bit close.
  2. Read Little Women– just downloaded it.  Not loving it but going to try and keep on reading.
  3. Go hiking-Accomplished! Hiked in Acadia National Park in Maine
  4. Try stand up paddle boarding
  5. Celebrate my 40th somewhere other than Delaware. Thinking Vegas! Yup, celebrated it in Vegas.
  6. Take a trip to Gettysburg- Going for Halloween weekend!
  7. Be able to do more than one pull up.
  8. Attend a November Project work out.
  9. Attend a play-Saw 2 this year and loved them. Hoping to see Book of Mormon.
  10. Improve my softball fielding skills-been working on it!
  11. Go to a day spa- 
  12. Volunteer at a race.
  13. Do more things with my nephew-He is almost 10 and I don’t want to miss out on spending time with him.
  14. Go white water rafting.
  15. Stop stressing so much-I find that I am always stressing something be it-work, my running, or some other nonsense.  It is just not healthy!
  16. Improve my self confidence.
  17. Plan a trip outside of the country.
  18. Improve my back issues.
  19. Do more yoga-see above.
  20. Learn to let go of negative feelings.
  21. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast.
  22. Improve my geography skills.
  23. Stop with all the sugar- Total work in progress
  24. Try to complain less-Negativity begets negativity.
  25. Grow in my profession-I’m not talking about a change; I just think in my profession you need to constantly strive for growth and improvement.
  26. Save more money-this will always be a goal.
  27. Pay my car off-I have never been without a car payment.
  28. Learn to love the holidays-I could write a whole post on the reasons for this, but my lack of enthusiasm affects others so I will try!
  29. Cook at home more often.
  30. Attend a comedy show.
  31. Do some redecorating.
  32. Re-do flower beds in front of house.
  33. Drink more water.
  34. Learn to speak Spanish.
  35. Take more pictures and not worry about how I look in them.
  36. Talk less and listen more.
  37. Buy a sectional- this better have happened when I look back next year.
  38. Complete a running program.
  39. PR a half marathon.
  40. Reduce all or nothing thinking.

I can’t wait to look back on this a year from now and see how I did!!




I Cheated!

Well, I finally broke! I attended an O’s game a couple of  Saturday’s ago and was dying to have a mango-rita….so I did!

That was day 21 and I figured I would just hop back on the train- no harm no foul.

Wrong!  That mango-rita was a gateway drug let me tell you 😉

I am a creature of habit. Every single Sunday I eat at a Korean BBQ restaurant. The dish I get is easily my favorite meal.   I haven’t been able to have it because of the MSG and sugar in the sauce (It’s a sweet and spicy chicken dish).

So after Saturday’s cheat drink, I decided to eat my favorite meal at the BBQ and from there it was a slippery slope.

At Day 21 I had lost 3 lbs.  3 measly little pounds.  For all of the restrictions, it just didn’t feel worth it to me.

So, what did I do? Went on a total binge, that’s what.  I have since gained the 3 lbs back but have gotten myself under control.

I am now doing a calorie counter and this seems to be reigning me in.

My final thoughts about Whole 30 are:

1. I will never again restrict certain foods completely.  I became so consumed with my end date so I could have SUGAR!!

2. It is a great tool for people with food intolerances.  I am fortunate enough to be able to eat pretty much anything without issues so this diet is just not for me.


What I Ate-Whole 30

I realize that there are a ton of Whole 30 recipes on pinterest  but I love reading a typical day from a person that is actively doing a certain diet.  This way I get a true picture of what to expect.

First, let it be known,  I am not a great cook.  I am not being self-deprecating.  It’s true.   I can throw together a quick meal but I don’t do fancy. This was one of my big concerns when considering Whole 30.

I hit the grocery store, list in hand, with no real agenda for meals.  Prior to starting, I had been eating hot sausage and snap peas for lunch every day so I stocked up on that.  I also grabbed a ton of fruits, vegetables, lean turkey and salmon.

Here is a typical day for me.

Breakfast- coffee with splash of unsweetened coconut milk.  I microwaved a sweet potato for 4 min to soften it up a bit and then cubed it.  Next, I cooked it in a skillet with some coconut oil. After it cooked for awhile, I fried 2 eggs over medium in the same skillet.   The combo of dippy eggs and sweet potato was amazing! Didn’t even miss the toast.

Had a early afternoon snack of watermelon.

Lunch-I cooked some fresh spinach in a tiny bit of coconut oil and added some grilled chicken and red/yellow peppers to the pan.  This wasn’t my favorite meal.  I was not crazy about the spinach but it did the job.

After a trip to the farmers market I had an apple with some almond butter.

Dinner- 1/2 filet of grilled salmon and 7 medium grilled shrimp.  I also fried some plantains in (you guessed it) coconut oil.

Now I am snacking on some honeydew melon and a few grapes.

Later I will have a cup of peppermint tea with nothing in it.

All in all, I am excited that I have tried/cooked some new things.  I have always wanted to try plantains and now I can say I have.

****After reading the forum, I realized I am not supposed to be snacking throughout the day but I am going to eat when I am hungry.  Take that Whole 30!





Whole 30 and Running

I began Whole 30 11 days ago! If you aren’t familiar with Whole 30 check out my last post. This week, I thought I would talk about how Whole 30 has affected my running.

The day I started Whole 30 was a Wednesday, so per usual, I headed to the gym after work to run.

I had a softball game later that night but was hoping to get my full run in.

Quick aside- I HAVE to chew gum when I run. It helps keep my mouth moist and it’s a habit that I have never been able to break, even through jaw issues and braces.  The problem is I can’t have xylitol on Whole 30.

I started my run sans gum and didn’t feel too bad.

Fast forward to mile 3 and I was dying. I mean exhausted. So much so that I had to call it a day.

Would you believe that I attributed it to the lack of gum?!! I figured I would  just try again tomorrow.

And so I did. With almost the same result. I made it an agonizing 4.50 miles.

Then it dawned on me- ummm no carbs=no running fuel!

I went on the whole 30 forum and typed in running fatigue.

Here’s just one example-
The term “carb flu” was a new one to me but trust me, it is a real thing!  I am achy all over and have major leg fatigue etc.

Most people suggested that the running fatigue improved around day 14 and that incorporating more sweet potatoes and eating more starchy veggies (squash, zucchini, beets) would help.

Plus, I do  body pump about 2x/week and while I feel fine during the class, my legs are shot for days after!!

All in all, I have been able to get my running distance/week in, but my speed has taken a major hit!

I so wanted to use this as an excuse to quit,  but I just can’t give in after making a commitment  to myself.  I am just hoping that things improve.

Here’s to day 14!