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Monday, May 30, 2011

Introduction: past and present

Training for the full marathon initially began on July 27th 2010. I looked online and found a pretty reasonable training schedule that was for 26 weeks. Perfect, as I planned to run it in February and the schedule terminated on January 23rd 2010. However, I was overzealous. I didn't listen to my body and I suffered an overuse injury right after I ran a half marathon on November 28th 2010 (photo above). I started feeling tension in the lateral part of my left knee around the first week of December but I kept ignoring it. I was sure that it was only normal soreness from running and that once I took a few days off I'd be back in shape. 

On December 12th 2010, after a 10-day hiatus from running, (and a few days after suffering from a cold), I hit the trail again. It was a long run of 18 miles. Yet, just a week ago I had pain in my knee. I had to stop at mile 16 because the pain became unbearable. I actually felt the pain at mile 12/13 but I didn't stop. I told myself that it didn't hurt enough for me to stop running, although the nagging pain was still there. The next day I woke up with a stiff, painful knee. I could barely walk to the bathroom! I was only able to sit on the toilet seat with help from my husband. Even so, I rode my static bike for 10 minutes and did a lot of stretching. At that point I figured it was time to do some research on how to heal this injury. I was still convinced that I'd be fine by February to run my marathon. 

I found that I was suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome. It's a lateral pain in the knee. The ligament rubs against the bone causing irritation and pain. Normally there is no swelling (which I didn't have) and the only "cure" is rest. It is an overuse injury. It typically takes 4-6 weeks to heal, meaning, I had to hault my marathon training for four weeks. Looking back, I was so sure that after that four weeks I was going to run the marathon and finish. Now I know that even when the supposed healing time is over that doesn't mean I would have been well enough to run 26 miles. 

So, on December 9th 2010, my denial now over, I stopped training. It was incredibly hard. I was down, depressed, feeling fat, and I even thought that I would never recover. To cope, I started incorporating visualization techniques into my life. Basically, you run in your mind and visualize the route, your breathing, and the feel of your feet on the pavement. It's a kind of therapy that helps athletes in recovery. 

That January 2011, I started including weight training and the static bike after the six weeks were up. I started running again on January 13th 2011, for 15 minutes. I would run three times a week for 15 minutes. If my leg felt healthy the following week, I'd increase the time by five minutes. I didn't reach 30 minutes until February 2nd 2011. I am now running 1 hour and 40 minutes, three times a week, and I feel great! I plan to start my training again the second half of June.  

This has been a learning experience. I have learned to relax, breathe, and take my time. Most of all I listen to my body now. If I need a break, I take one. If I need to stretch more, I do. I even do yoga twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays to help me de-stress and maintain my flexibility. I hope to use this blog to keep me honest. I am doing all the right things right now and I want to keep up the motivation. Maybe I can even help someone else.

As for the hair journey, that is recently new. I've been natural since my sophormore year at college (2004) but I feel newly natural. My goal is to take better care of my hair to I can maximize my own growth potential. I will include my regimen, products I use, hair styles and things that I learn from the internet. Including things I've learned on youtube or from other blogs by naturalistas that I follow. I measured my hair May 22nd and so my three month update on length will be at the end of August. I can't wait! (Look for more photos soon).

I look forward to sharing my Recipe for Health.


  1. Hey you never told me you had iliotibial band syndrome. I never knew that it derailed your training and we speak so regularly. Oh well, it sounds as though you have recovered nicely. I'm glad you are listening to your body and yoga will definitely help with the toning and flexibility. I'm glad you're doing the blog. Keep it coming!


  2. Oh wow! I thought I had! Maybe I was afraid that it would be a permanent injury so I didn't Dr. Noel to diagnose me just yet...lol! But yea, I seem to be completely fine now. I have learned not to obsess! Yoga rocks!

  3. GREAT BLOG SAM!! I have decided that at the end of the summer maybe in September I would like to try to jog/run a 10k!! yay me. But I have to make sure I focus on the bar first( I get side tracked easily).
    Maybe you could do a blog entry for beginning runners. Because you didn't just start off running 18 miles out of no where. Just an idea for a blog entry once you get going.

  4. Thanks Lynzie!!! Your idea is GREAT! I have it written down and will get to it ASAP. So look out for it. I'm proud of you setting a goal for yourself like that. Help is on the way!