RUNNER DOWN! When You Can’t Run

feet in flipflops

In 2009 I decided that after just three years of running, I was going to run my first marathon. Knowing I would need a mission behind my goal, I chose a foundation to raise money for : The Larry Frimanslund Oral Cancer Foundation. I signed up for the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon and went about my training.

It wasn’t until my 17-mile long run, just eight weeks before the marathon, that I ran into trouble. It was my IT band. I took 4 days off and went out for a seven-mile test run. At three and a half miles I was unable to walk let alone run. The pain brought tears to my eyes and a sadness to my heart. The thought of not being able to finish my training and having to back-out of the marathon paralyzed me.

I sat on the side of the road contemplating how I would manage to get the 3.5 miles back home to my house. I thought about the book I was reading: Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and made a rash decision. I took off my shoes and started walking toward my house, there was no pain. With a shoe in each hand I worked my way into an easy jog and amazingly remained pain-free.

By the time I reached my home I had decided that I would finish my training, even if I had to run stocking-footed to do it.
It didn’t take too many mid-week runs to realize I couldn’t afford new socks every day and besides, my feet needed a little more protection from the gravel on the roads.

I experimented with shoes, finding that my flip-flops were the best for running in. I used medical tape to keep them on my feet and more tape to cover the blisters caused by the straps. My training went on without IT band pain.

Eventually I decided to purchase a pair of Vibram 5-fingers. It was those shoes that I ultimately ran (and jogged…and walked) my marathon in.
blue vibrum<

What I did was stupid. I mean, yes, I finished my marathon and met my goal, but no one should go from a full shoe to a minimal shoe in the middle of training for a marathon. That was proven to me on the first run after my marathon. After a few days rest I went out for a simple three-mile run with my run club and returned with a stress fracture. Boom, six-weeks of no running.

I am still a minimalist runner, I don’t believe in arch support and especially believe that kids should start with a minimal shoe and remain in one their entire life. But that isn’t what this is about.

This is about not being able to run.

Running junkies the world over can be heard moaning when they are sidelined for even a few days. Many, like me, will risk major injury instead of taking much-needed rest and recovery. Our intense desire to run is remarkable, impressive, maybe even honorable…but it isn’t conducive to longevity.


1. Take the time to research your condition and learn as much as you can about it. I guarantee you’re not the only one suffering with your condition. Find out what worked for others in your situation. Don’t take your doctor’s advice as gospel, he doesn’t know everything (especially if he isn’t a runner). Get second opinions, don’t be afraid of physical therapy, chiropractic’s, and alternative treatments like acupuncture, supplements and diet change to get you well.

2. Don’t return to running too soon. If you have a stress fracture, you need 4-6 weeks off, period. Coming back after 3 weeks because you don’t feel any pain is stupid. Don’t be stupid.

3. Don’t just sit there (not that you would anyway). Just because you can’t run doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. With most injuries you can still swim, cycle, do yoga and you can most definitely weight train. Even with a huge boot on my foot I could still ride my stationary bike for hours at a time and I could swim to sustain a certain amount of fitness.

4. Don’t get out of the loop. Don’t avoid your running friends or your run club. While your buddies are out running you can walk. Take part in the social time with your running friends. Talk about your injury, express the difficulty of not running and let them assure you that you’ll be back.

5. Don’t worry! Just because you are taking some time off doesn’t mean you’re going to have to start from scratch. Nor does it mean you will come back as a mediocre runner. I’ve seen it over and over, people not only return to run strong, but they run faster and stronger than ever before. I can only assume it is a result of the forced extended recovery time. After my stress fracture I returned to run my fasted half marathon ever.

I hope to bring some examples of people who have returned from injuries to inspire you. If you have a story, please feel free to tell everyone about it in the comments below! Happy running.

#running #injury #marathon #stressfracture #fracture #vibrum #borntorun #racing

Overcoming Pain: How Chiropractics Helped Me Run

Me and the B (B is for Back Pain) (‘B’ IS FOR BACK PAIN)
I’ve been dealing with some issues lately and thought I would share it with you all in hopes you will gain something from my experience. This post is for runners, or anyone who has had to deal with pain.

It’s so hard to appreciate something when you don’t realize you have it. Moving without pain is taken for granted by all of us I think.

Pain has the ability to suck the happiness out of your day like no other thing. It takes the joy out of your most favorite activities and makes the simplest tasks seem like unmanageable obstacles.

Running is my cocaine. It starts my day, processes my tasks, plans my schedule, heals my fears…it is a welcome friend I cannot live without. I enjoy running. When pain becomes the only thing I feel when I run, my world falls apart.

I’ve been dealing with back issues my whole life. Only a few times has it interfered with my life, and even then pain medication made it tolerable. I’ve always maintained a back strengthening regimen and done core exercised to stave off back pain. But after a fall from my bike last spring dislocated my sacrum, I entered into a downward spiral that came to a head this January.

As usual, I tried to train through the pain. Some days were worse than others, when it got really bad I would take a couple Naproxen Sodium and hope for the best. But when I found myself walking in the half marathon I ran in March, I knew something was really wrong. I don’t walk during races.

A few chiropractic treatments got the pain back to tolerable and I went on with the summer, agreeing with myself that I would take it easy this year, no real races, just fun stuff like the Tough Mudder.
tough mudder diane and danny<

As summer turned to fall, my running pace dipped slower and slower and my joy turned to drudgery. I began to dread my morning runs knowing they would be slow and painful. The pain turned to sciatica that made sitting and standing a miserable state while at the same time kept me up at night. My attitude was irritable with the constant nagging ache behind every answer to a question. I was miserable and miserable to be around; my family can verify this.

To add gas to the fire, I began to slowly gain weight. As a person who monitors her weight daily, and has maintained a steady weight my entire adult life except for during pregnancies, I was at a loss for an explanation. No amount of exercise or food restriction managed to bring my weight back to the happy place. I found myself reaching for weight loss supplements…something I don’t ever do. They didn’t help, my weight kept rising. I was up about eight pounds and feeling a complete loss of control…something I don’t deal with easily.

In desperation I limped into a local chiropractic office to see if they had any specials going. I had an initial exam and given a treatment plan. This time, for the first time ever, I committed to following the full plan. I purchased a 20 visit package so that I wouldn’t quit after I got a little better, I signed on for the full six weeks.

The first week was up and down. My sciatica pain was magically relieved but replaced by severe lower back pain. In the second week the lower back pain resolved but was replaced by severe neck pain. Then the sciatica came back. By week four, almost nothing hurt.

While all the treatments were going on, I kept running. I had initially asked the doctor if running, biking or swimming was aggravating the problem and he said, “Maybe, but I’m not going to ask you to stop. I don’t want you to stop.” This was the best thing the doctor could have said to me. If he had said something else, I may not have gone back.

Anyway, on the Monday after the first two treatments I actually felt like going for a tempo-run. And every Monday after that I went for another tempo-run to gauge my progress. Amazingly, by the second week I found myself wanting to do speed work more than once a week. By the fourth week I had shaved 1:41 per mile off my run four weeks prior. All the runs were on the same stretch of road, for six miles. Here is the average pace for the four weeks:

Week prior: 9:36
Week one: 9:06
Week two: 8:32
Week three: 8:12
Week four: 7:54

My weight had not only returned to normal, I dropped an extra two pounds. How you say? Well, I had to think hard to figure out why but I think the answer will make sense when you hear it. There are a few things but the main reason is the fact that the pain went away. When your body is in pain it releases cortisol. Cortisol causes your body to gain weight, especially in the mid-section.

As babies, when we cry, whether it be because we are wet, colicky or hungry, the first thing we are offered is food. Over time, our brains relate food with comfort. This causes havoc in many people’s lives, especially when they suffer from a lot of sadness and stress. But it can also cause a person in constant pain to reach for food when nothing else seems to work. Since I suffered with a constant ache in my left leg I was mindlessly reaching for food to comfort me. It wasn’t until I decided to document my calorie intake that I realized what I was doing. Now that I am aware of it, I reach for a drink of water instead and remind myself what I am doing. When the pain is gone, the behavior stops.

That’s the other thing: the X-rays the doctor took revealed gastric issues. No amount of colon cleanses or fiber seemed to resolve the fullness I felt in my mid-section. I realized what I needed was to practice what I preach and drink more water. Water cleanses the body like no other thing. I made a conscious effort to drink about eight glasses of water throughout the day. My waist gradually returned to the hourglass shape I was used to.

It the words of my chiropractor, as you unwind the spine all other issues will disappear. And he wasn’t just talking about back pain. When your spine is healthy, signals reach the brain, organs function better, your body moves forward with less effort, thought processes clear.

I’m entering my fifth week of therapy and am feeling better and more alive than ever. I’m excited about racing this year, I think it could be my best year ever. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
tri pic 2<
I'm also testing chiropractics on my son to see if it will help with bed wetting. After just three adjustments, he had his first dry night ever.

I should also mention that my chiropractor practices ABC chiropractics (Advanced Biostructural Correction)

#running #pain #chiropractics #weightloss #weightgain #bedwetting #backpain #sciatica #stress #cortisol #ABCchiropractics