Fighting Injury: A Guest Post

Today’s post about battling and overcoming injury is from Janel at Eat Well with Janel.

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Overcoming Injuries

If you asked me to write a post prior to January 7, 2010 on overcoming an injury, I couldn’t do it. At 27 years old, after being a 3 sport athlete through high school, a gym junkie through college, and a go-getter competing in half marathons, a duathlon, and a triathlon after grad school, I had never had an injury. Not one. I never had to sit on the bench, see a physical therapist, or even ice a joint more than a handful of times. I was very, very lucky, and proud that I took such good care of my body by constantly stretching and cross training.

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Then somewhere during my triathlon training I felt a twinge in my hip that got worse and worse as I continued to train and race. Fast forward about 6 months and I scheduled surgery to repair my torn hip labrum. I’m not going to lie: I freaked out. Every day leading up to surgery I grappled with the fact that I’d be on the couch for 2 weeks and on crutches, and then scheduled for physical therapy (which I always thought was a joke that didn’t help you recover). Unfortunately, surgery didn’t go the way we hoped and my labrum repair had me on the couch and on crutches for six weeks, and unable to start physical therapy for three months. That was the least of my concerns. Just four days after my surgery, I got a debilitating blood clot in my calf that felt like a gunshot to my leg. I was now faced with two “injuries” to overcome, and slowly but surely the spring after my surgery I started PT and learned how to regain my strength. I take back every negative thing I ever said about physical therapy – it saved me. It gave me the courage to get stronger and retrain my body to get back on track.

Another setback came seven months after surgery when, after a long flight back from Europe, I woke up with stabbing lower back pain out of the blue. No MRI could explain what was wrong, and I spent the next six months – up until now – trying to find treatments to lessen the constant pain. I couldn’t believe my year: I had spent 27 years injury free and now this? Why was I having a year where all I faced were injuries? It felt like a joke the universe was playing on me, but I was ready to play back.

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I learned in the past year that overcoming your injuries is about physical healing, yes. But more than anything, it is about mental healing. In the beginning of the year whenever I’d see someone outside for a run, or read blog posts about people competing in races, I’d have a pang of jealousy. “They don’t know how lucky they are,” I’d think. But it only made me feel worse. So with the help of my insanely positive and inspirational fiancé, I got my mind straightened out. I started to see my little victories, like increasing one pound in weight at physical therapy or taking a walk around the block, as really, really big victories. I started to think more positively about my situation and my progress. I started to reframe my mindset about my abilities. Sure, I was once the girl who could run 13 miles or swim ‘til her lungs were on fire, but I had to set those memories aside and build on that strength. I had to focus on the new me – the one who discovered strength I didn’t know I had. The one who learned how to overcome things that no book, blog, or words of wisdom could have ever prepared me for.

I’m still overcoming my injuries, and every day I’m getting stronger with less pain. I’m discovering new exercise I’m able to do – like Pilates – that I never tried before. But the biggest lesson I learned after the past year was that in order to heal my physical injuries in my hip and back, I had to start with my head. If you’re overcoming an injury, whether it is a long term one, or one that only has you sitting out for a day or two resting, know that changing your mind about the situation and focusing on positive progress is the only way to heal. If I can do it, so can you!

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Janel Ovrut is a Boston-based Registered Dietitian and a food blogger. You can follow her food and fitness focused tweets at @DietitianJanel and her blog Eat Well with Janel.

Running for Health

Today’s post is from Katie at Catch Me if You Can. I love Katie’s story about getting starting with running and navigating injury. Her story reminds us that everyone comes at life and all it’s obstacles and triumphs from a different perspective.

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My running career began innocently enough as a way to stay thin in college.  I began at one mile {ouch those were painful miles} then progressed to a consistent 3-4 miles, with maybe 6-7 on the weekends. I was so proud of myself– I had never worked out, played a sport or done anything remotely athletic one day in my life.

This is when tragedy struck.  As the rest of my life went into a downward spiral, so did my running.  My knee began to swell up.  I thought it was no big deal because hey I’m running a lot and everyone knows it shouldn’t be easy.  Famous last words!

It progressed to the point where hitting the accelerator on my car hurt.  I finally had to admit defeat and began to utilize the elliptical to maintain my weight loss.  Here’s the thing that I wish I had know: I never needed to lose weight to begin with.  I finally had to accept that disordered eating had once again reared its ugly head in my life.

I moved back home and had to take 4 months off to heal my knee.  I gained 15 pounds that I desperately needed to gain and began to take care of myself.  I kept saying on days I didn’t want to eat enough that if I didn’t then I couldn’t go run.  Running became my incentive for staying healthy. I finally finished that half marathon with back pain and knee pain.  I went to the family physical therapist where I was outfitted with orthotics and different shoes.  I was finally on the road to recovery.

I have since completed numerous half-marathons, and finished my first marathon!  I have even began to place at some of the local 5ks.  I have learned a lot from my injuries.  This knee injury was not the only injury.  My injuries all seemed to hit when I stopped eating or taking care of myself. While running is a great weight loss tool don’t forget you have to fuel up to run those miles!


So what advice do I have for beginning runners and the injured?

1) Get fitted for good shoes and/or orthotics. Those insoles in your running shoes are NOT supportive.  If you need a stability shoe {I wear the Brooks Adrenaline} then you probably need orthotics too.  A medicine supply store is a great place to get outfitted for them.

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2) Get connected with the running community. I wish someone had told me I was adding miles on much too quickly for my body.  I wish someone had told me about good fitting shoes, clothing and to always listen to your body.

3) Listen to your body. When it hurts STOP and evaluate what exactly might be wrong.  I am still bad about this, but am working on listening to my body.

4) EAT. Yes, I am giving you a free pass to eat.  This doesn’t mean eat your weight in chocolate and peanut butter, but eat good clean foods.  This does not need to be a vegetarian diet by any means, but a diet rich in nutrients.  In order to best run, you need to fuel your body.

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My running has come a long way.  From a way to merely lose weight to a passion that is like a phantom limb when it is not there.  I have made more friends through running then I originally thought possible and have learned so much about my body.  It has helped me get my health back as well which my friends and family are forever grateful for.  So if you are thinking of starting running please do!  Just remember to do it for you and not weight loss.

Injuries are inevitable, but knowledge is power.  Know your body and what it needs so you will be back running in no time. You won’t love running at first {it is hard after all!}, but I hope you learn to love it!

Can you relate to Katie’s story? How has running or another activity influenced your life?

Overcoming Injury: A Guest Post

Today’s post is from Katie at Live for the Long Run. Katie learned about injuries the hard way- and early on. Here’s her story:

I learned the hard way that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I started running in August of 2009. I quickly fell in love with the release it provided me as well as the magnificent things it was doing for my health. All of these positive side effects made me push harder. There was just one problem: I had no idea what I was doing.

My ignorance and overzealousness caught up with me.

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After running for three months with a pain in my left leg, I finally visited a sports medicine doctor in December of 2009 when I started feeling the pain all of the time. I explained my symptoms to him. He listened. He nodded. He rang a tuning fork and held it up against the spot that I was complaining about pain. I jumped off the table. He diagnosed me with a stress fracture.

He pulled his chair up to the table I was sitting on and wrote out his treatment plan for me on the paper liner covering the table. The original treatment plan included:

1. No more running. Nada. Zip. Zero. (Water running and spinning were still okay).

2. Physical therapy three times a week.

3. Active release therapy (ART) three times a week.

4. Start taking calcium and vitamin D on top of my multivitamin.

I didn’t listen. I had made so much progress with running, I decided I could just back down on my mileage and that would be enough. I didn’t want to start gaining weight back/losing the fitness level I had worked so hard to get.

A month later, I went back to my sports med. doc for a reassessment. He took one look at the x-ray and shook his head.

The stress fracture had gotten significantly worse. My secret treatment plan was no longer a secret. Water running and spinning was out.

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This sexy looking boot was in. For two whole months.

I continued with physical therapy. No ART until the bone healed. I listened this time and wore the boot all the time.

At first, I scoffed at the physical therapy exercises. Moving a towel with my foot? Scrunching a towel up using my toe? Seriously?

Then my physical therapist retook my measurements. My range of movement was significantly better. I don’t know if it was the rest that my leg was getting thanks to the boot or the seemingly mundane exercises using high-tech equipment like towels, but something was working.

I struggled when I stopped feeling pain all the time in my leg. I decided that since I wasn’t in pain anymore, I must be healed. I wanted to take off the boot and go for a run. Physical therapy was not enough exercise for me. Constant preachings from my physical therapist, Dan, was the only reason I continued to wear the boot. Finally he told me that if I didn’t listen, I’d probably never run again.

After that, I threw everything I had into my physical therapy. After two months of PT, I started ART and ditched the boot. ART was the best pain I have ever felt.

I went back to the doctor after a month of ART. He looked at my x-ray. He pulled his chair over to the table and started writing on the paper table liner again.

This time was writing out a training schedule for getting back into running safely. I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.

I listened to every word he said. I took it slow. I hit the mileage that my doc prescribed every week, never exceeding it. Every time I wanted to push, I heard Dan’s voice in the back of my head telling me that I might never run again. I still hear Dan’s voice to this day (creepy, I know).

In some ways, dealing with such a serious injury so early in my running career was a good thing. The consequences of overtraining are very real. It’s not something that could happen to someone else, but never to me. I am human. When something hurts, I head back to my sports med doc’s office. I constantly remind myself that running through pain today might mean that I can’t run tomorrow.

I want to running twenty, thirty, maybe even fifty years from now.

I’ve got time.

Why rush through the healing process now?

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Have a story about overcoming injury or starting to run? Email me: rungirlrunn at gmail dot com.

Quick & Easy Holiday Appetizers

Today’s post comes from Kristina– thanks for sharing your recipes!

I love to entertain – and the more the merrier! Just as much as I enjoy a house full of loved ones, I love to plan event details. I love fresh, easy food that I can prepare just before events begin, and I pair those with a few goodies that can be made ahead – either that morning or even the day before!

In the next several weeks, we will host parties, be guests of parties, and join family and friends on holidays. I have two easy appetizers that are full of great flavor! These can be made ahead for your party, and are easily portable to bring to events you are attending.

The first is vegan and the second is vegetarian, both are gluten free. Enjoy!

Red Pepper Dip

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic
sea salt, to taste

Soak cashews in water overnight in fridge. Drain and add to processor with all ingredients. Blend to desired consistency.

This is so flavorful, and a favorite whenever I make it. I have changed the flavor by replacing red peppers with many things – dates and more water for a sweet dip, jalapenos for spicy, even simply more garlic and white beans for a creamy and versatile alternative.

I serve this with crackers and vegetables – baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pepper slices.

Olive Bites

2 cups extra sharp cheddar, cubed
1 stick butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup flour (Bob’s Red Mill gluten free)
1 teaspoon sea salt
25 – 30 martini olives

Pulse cheese, butter, flour and salt in food processor. Very quickly it forms a dough ball. Remove and knead a few times, until smooth.

Step by step: Roll into one inch balls, make a well, place an olive inside, form dough around olive. I baked them in my mini muffin pan.

Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.

I also made cheesy disks out of some of the dough:


These taste like light fluffy cheese crackers, and are great warm or cold. The olive bites are salty and uniquely tasty; I have made these ahead of time and warmed in the oven prior to serving.

I am always flattered when asked to guest post, and was very happy to be asked by Heather, whose blog I love and read daily! Thank you Heather, and thanks to everyone for reading! I wish you all a fun and happy holiday season!

Kristina, spabettie