Shooting from the Hip

Rehabbing my way back to running.

Rehabbing my way back to running.

Exactly two months after hobbling to the finish of my fifth Chicago Marathon, I got a cortisone shot in my bursitis-plagued left hip. After five weeks of physical therapy and at-home exercises (with no running, biking or anything whatsoever) and zero-to-minimal improvement, I’d had enough.

During my initial doctor visit way back in late October, my general practitioner had mentioned a cortisone shot — a dose of steroids injected right into the affected bursae to reduce inflammation and relieve pain — and I flinched. It sounded a bit extreme because at that point, I felt confident that physical therapy would suffice and I’d be back running again in no time.

Not so much.

Upon completing my eight-session physical therapy prescription, I made an appointment to see the orthopedist. After finding my X-rays normal and doing some basic strength/range of motion exams, he immediately recommended a cortisone shot.

“Yes, let’s do it,” I said without hesitation.

I faced the wall during the procedure, so I never actually looked at what I can only imagine was a comically large needle. The injection was painful, but it only lasted about 30 seconds, and my yoga breathing got me through it.

My orthopedist is optimistic the shot is going to do the trick. I’ve already noticed a significant difference in my pain level (WAY DOWN), and I’m easing back into running. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

Living with constant, nagging pain has not been fun, but perhaps the worst part has been the inordinate number of mental hurdles I’ve had to climb in dealing with something that, in the grand scheme, is so very small.

So why has this been so hard?

Well, I did a little math and figured out that 1) it was the longest I’d gone without running since 2009 and 2) it was the longest I’d gone without any significant cardio exercise since 2000-2001 (a.k.a. my “fat year” of college). That’s right, 14 years.

I know I should be counting my blessings that I’ve been able to remain relatively injury-free and consistently maintain a healthy workout regimen. But at the same time, it makes much more sense why my forced time off has been so mentally challenging.

It was a complete alteration of my routine. I lost my No. 1 outlet for stress relief and enjoyment. I saw a layer of chub forming over my previously super in-shape body. And so on.

The road back could be slow and long, and I have another month of physical therapy ahead of me. But I hope that a year from now, I can look back on this and say the forced time off, the physical therapy and the mental gymnastics made me better, faster and stronger. — Mags

There’s the Rub

Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-9.41.28-AMSooooo, I have a confession to make.

My thighs rub together when I run.

And no matter how many miles I run, my thighs will always rub together. That’s just the way I’m made. And eventually, after enough miles, my pants start to go threadbare at the inseam.

This is frustrating, on many levels. And the odds are, you have this same problem too!

But here is something awesome: You don’t have to throw away your favorite running tights when the inseam gives way. You just have to get them repaired. Really! And here’s the best part: if you bought your tights at Lululemon, they will fix them for you. For FREE!

So march your favorite tights/shorts/capris right back to the store filled with the swell of pride of knowing you ran so many miles in those babies that they’re literally going to have to sew them back together. And since you don’t have to splurge on a new pair of tights, you can treat yourself to a little something in the store. (Because, come on, be real, who really has the will power to walk out of Lululemon empty handed?) — Aidz

Race Giveaway: F^3 Lake Half Marathon

F3HalfMarathonCalling all Bad Angel Winter Warriors!

We’re giving away two race entries to the 6th Annual F^3 Lake Half Marathon on Saturday, Jan. 24, at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

In addition to the free entry ($70 value!), race sponsor REM-Fit will outfit our winners with a new REM-Active, a sleep and activity tracker.

To enter, simply comment on this post. We will announce our winners at the end of December.

Good luck!

Bad Angel Holiday Gift Guide

Just a few short weeks until Christmas, Angels. Time to get cracking! (Or, if you’re Johnny-on-the-spot and already have the holiday season covered, keep these ideas in mind for other special occasions throughout the year. )

NatureBox: What does every runner love? Snacks on snacks on snacks on snacks. But especially snacks that are delivered right to their front door. (See also: Graze or Nibblr)

Socks: They make the perfect stocking stuffers. Duh. Balega, Feetures! and Injinji are a few brands we love, but you can step up your sock-giving game with compression socks (we recommend Nike or ProCompression).

Shwings: These bad boys — wings for your shoes! — were featured in our gift guide last year, but come on, they’re awesome.

Massage: Treat your running loved one to an hour of heavenly pampering or an hour of tortuous deep tissue bodywork. Whatever they’re into.

Pedicure: Runners have gross feet, so this gift helps everyone, really.

Knits by Blanca: Customizable running-themed hats, gloves and scarves. Warms our hearts — and our fingers.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 2.19.48 PMRace Registration: Nothing says, “I support your habit” more than a paid entry fee to a coveted race.

Runderwear: Who needs sexy lingerie when there are Rundies? They’re a grown-up (and running-obsessed) take on the day-of-the-week underwear of yore.

Foam Roller: Whether you are new to running or an old pro, everyone can use a little self-massage now and then. These are pretty darn cool from Trigger Point Performance.

Weather-Proof Pants: These layering pants are perfect for those cold, wet, winter runs. It’s like a windbreaker for your legs, from Lululemon.

For more ideas, check out our Gear Check posts.

 

 

 

2014 Goals: How’d We Do?

Can you believe another year has come and gone already? Time flies when you’re kicking ass. Let’s take a look at how we fared with our 2014 goals:

MAGS

1. 10K PR. For real this time, you guys. I had to bail on the Chi-Town 10K last year — and sadly, there aren’t a ton of 10Ks in the area to choose from — so I’m going to give this race another shot.

In a year full of great races and PRs, I think the Chi-Town 10K was my best. I trained well, the weather cooperated, and on top of a huge PR, I won an age group award. Much more than that, it came at the end of a brutal winter, and it gave me the mental boost I needed before I launched into a summer of intense marathon training. (Honestly, the more I consider it, the more I think 10K might be my best race distance. So maybe I should find more of them, huh?)

2. Get 10 minutes closer to Boston. There, I said it. Boston. It’s been on my mind for a long while now. I have a lot of ground to cover to reach that magical marathon qualifying mark, so I’m launching a two-year plan to BQ. If I can knock off 10 minutes in 2014 and 10 minutes in 2015, I can qualify with 5 minutes to spare (which will be crucial in actually signing up for the race in their new tiered registration process). Training starts now, Angels.

A few short weeks after setting this goal, I upped the ante and decided to go all the way for a BQ at the Chicago Marathon in October. I fell just short. However, I met and even exceeded my original goal because I actually got 15 minutes closer to Boston. Huzzah! Silver linings, y’all.

3. Run a timed mile. The combination of my nostalgic mile run post and our mile-a-day holiday running streak has got me itching to run a timed mile. Like, balls-out-want-to-die during-and-throw-up-afterward timed mile. I’ve located a high school track that looks worthy of my efforts, so it’s gonna happen. Mark my words.

Sooooo, yeah. It didn’t happen. During marathon training, I recorded some damn fast miles in the midst of speedwork, but I never went to the track to do just one mile. I twice made plans to do it; once, I bailed because it was too hot, and the second time, I was sick. And then I got hurt. Fart noise. Guess I’ll have to carry this one over into 2015.

AIDZ

1. Run a new race. I’m a creature of habit. I tend to run the same few races, year after year, because I know them and love them. But guess what? It’s good to try new things. Plus, I’ll be at a wedding during my regularly-scheduled Flying Pig, so I need to find another spring race. Since I’ll be running in unfamiliar territory and taking in the sights and sounds, I’m not shooting for the moon. But I would like to run it faster than my last half marathon to kick the racing season off right.

I worked hard last winter and set myself up for success with a PR at the Cincinnati Heart Mini Marathon in March. So when I journeyed to Wisconsin for the Madison Half Marathon, I knew my goals were within reach. I had a blast, set a post-baby PR and have decided that racing in unfamiliar territory is pretty dang awesome. Destination race FTW!

2. Beat the Bix. I had this as a goal for 2013, but a nasty ankle sprain got in the way. So, here we go again. Bix, I’m coming for ya. And I’d like to do it in less than 70 minutes.

I actually logged more miles training for the Bix than I did for either of my half marathons this year (in part, thanks to a peer-pressured “Summer Streak”), and I crossed the finish line in less than 70 minutes, just like I hoped and dreamed that I could. In fact, I beat my goal and PRed by almost 2 minutes. What I didn’t expect was to enjoy training for this race as much as I did. I definitely enjoy “middle” distance races the most, and my sweet spot (and personal threshold for maximum running enjoyment) seems to be in the 6-10 mile zone. Like Maggie, I need to find more races at this distance.

3. Set a Cincy PR. This looks a lot loftier than it actually is since I’ve only run the Cincy Half Marathon once. But I liked it! And I’d like to do it again this fall. Only this time, even faster.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Sometime late last spring, the Cincy Half Marathon announced that the race would be moving … to the middle of the summer. Ew, no. No. No. NO. I was distraught and upset. I love fall races, and now Cincinnati didn’t have a fall halfer anymore. I didn’t want to travel, and frankly, I was kind of burned out after a jam-packed spring and summer of running.

So I set my sights on the Hudy 14K as my fall race and decided to train smart and enjoy it. I ran the entire race in costume with my husband (he even let me win). I PRed by nearly 2 minutes and decided, what the heck? Maybe I could run a fall half after all. Cincinnati introduced the Queen Bee Half Marathon this year, and with great reservations, I recruited a girlfriend and ran it. And you know what? We loved it. I didn’t PR, but in the end, that wasn’t the point of this race.

AMIE

1. Run an actual race! This year I am going to run at least one race. Maybe I’ll run 10, but I am not even acknowledging summer unless I have a spring race under my belt. Right now I’m planning on the D.C. Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, with my sister-friends from college. It’s in March, so I’m wary of the timing and my nagging sciatica, but I am hopeful. And determined. And that’s an awesome combination.

Yes, yes, yes! I ran SIX races this year, and I’m still feeling good! I’ve had a record year in racing, not in times but in how I felt. I only PRed once, but I was able to do two spring halves (D.C. and Nashville), one summer race (the Hyde Park Blast) and three races this fall (Hudy 14K, Columbus Marathon and the Thanksgiving Day Race) with zero injuries! I’d been plagued with injuries for almost three years, so I was extremely careful and it paid off. I really missed racing, and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2015.

2. Lose the last 10 pounds of baby fat. Seriously. In January, Max turns 2. I am still 10 pounds over my normal weight. Maybe my “normal weight” is too ambitious for my aging metabolism, so I’d honestly be happy with shedding only 5 pounds. And an ab muscle would be a huge bonus.

I forgot that one of my goals included an ab muscle, which cracks me up. I’m happy to announce that I achieved this one too. I have a few ab muscles today and I’m finally back to fighting weight. It feels great and makes running so much easier.

3. Start a Thanksgiving Tradition. This year, I want my family to run the Turkey Trot together. I want us to run it together every year, starting in 2014. And when my big kids move on to start their families, they’ll come back to my house for dinner, having run a 10K, glowing with endorphins and gratitude.

Turkey trots are always fun, but they’re even better when you run with your family. This year we were down a kid, but we soldiered on. My grand plan was to run together, but my son just couldn’t contain his excitement and took off. It was still a blast, and we were home in time to get the turkey in the oven and put our feet up while we waited for family to arrive. I’m looking forward to doing this every year.